When you've had a massive French meal, the last thing you want is a big dessert. The slightly acidic yoghurt and crème fraîche mixture is complemented by the sweetness of the crème de marrons de l'Ardèche, a chestnut purée. Topped with the toasted walnuts for some texture, this is the perfect light and refreshing dessert for a hot summer's day.
Crème de marrons de l'Ardèche (chestnut purée)
I tend to use whatever type of yoghurt and cream is in the fridge for the base. Having said that, I avoid using sweetened yoghurts because the sharpness is needed to contrast the chestnut purée. I also refrain from using a majority of runny yoghurt in the mixture, as it needs to have a bit of substance!
Stir together whatever type of cream and yoghurts you have. If the dairy mixture is too sour, add a little sugar or agave syrup to taste.
In glasses or jars, add the creamy mixture until a third of the container is full. Layer about a teaspoon of the chestnut paste. Next, cover with more of the yoghurt mixture. Top with more of the crème de marrons de l'Ardèche- I squeezed it straight from the tube. Leave in the fridge to set a little.
In a pan over medium heat, toast the walnuts in no oil- you don't want to fry them. When they have browned but not burnt, remove from the pan onto some kitchen paper. The walnuts release oil when heated, but you don't want too much of this in the yoghurt. Bash the walnuts into smaller pieces, and sprinkle on the dessert.
To make the mixture even lighter transform the yoghurt into a mousse by folding in whisked egg whites.
If you're not too keen on nuts, layer lemon curd instead of the chestnut paste, and top with mango.
For a 'cherry bakewell', layer with cherry jam and top with toasted, flaked almonds or crushed amaretti.