|Fresh chestnuts/2/3 pound dried chestnuts||1 3⁄4 Pound|
|Eggs||8 Small, separated|
|Granulated sugar||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Almonds||1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs), ground|
|Sifted dry bread crumbs||1 Tablespoon|
|Cognac/Maraschino / 2 teaspoons vanilla / 1/2 teaspoon almond extract||1 Tablespoon|
|Heavy cream||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
1. If fresh nuts are used, make gashes in the flat side of each. Boil about twenty minutes in water to cover and drain. Remove the shell and inner skin. Return to pot, cover and boil in water to cover until tender, about five minutes. Drain and press through a sieve or food mill.
If dried chestnuts are used, soak overnight in water to cover. Add enough additional water to cover and boil, covered, until tender, about an hour. In a pressure cooker cook fifteen minutes at fifteen pounds pressure. Drain and press through a sieve or food mill.
2. Preheat oven to moderate (350° F.). Grease the bottom of a nine-inch spring-form pan.
3. Beat the egg yolks, add the sugar and beat well. Add the chestnut puree (reserving one-fourth cup for garnish), almonds, crumbs and flavoring.
4. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture. Pour into pan and bake until firm in the center, about one hour.
5. Just before serving the cake (after it has cooled) whip the cream, sweeten and flavor to taste (cognac is recommended flavoring) and spread over top. Arrange the remainder of the chestnut puree as a border around the outer rim.