Join Me: Cook from a Book for National Cookbook Month + Gâteau à la Purée de Châtaignes
Updated: Sep 28
October is National Cookbook Month. I decided it was a good excuse to grab some of those underused books from my shelf and actually cook from them.
If you are anything like me, you probably have lots of cookbooks that you acquired as gifts (because people know you love to cook) or because you are a bibliophile and lack self-control! Seriously, whenever I listen to The Splendid Table podcast, I end up buying oddball ingredients or new cookbooks.
So every October - for National Cookbook Month - I take on the challenge to crack the spine on some of those books. This year I invited the Sunday Funday group to kick off the month with me. And you are invited, too: cook from a book and share it. Here's what my #SundayFunday colleagues are sharing this weekend...
Arbi Tandoori by Sneha's Recipe
Eggplant Char Siu-Style and Other Vegetable Revelations from Tenderheart by Culinary Cam
Laknavi Kofta Curry by Mayuri's Jikoni
Lavash Pizza with Cauliflower, Fennel, and Mozzarella by Karen's Kitchen Stories
Pesto Potato Salad with Dijon Mustard by Amy's Cooking Adventures
Weekend Camping Cookbook: Skillet Enchiladas by Our Good Life
I was part of a cake baking group for a few years. But, after a slight misstep on my part in revealing the next year's book, I parted ways when the group coordinator didn't accept my apology and accused me of purposefully undermining the book reveal. It was not my intention, I was excited about cooking from the book and wanted to share that enthusiasm. Instead, it was shoved into my shelf and untouched until this month. For my first National Cookbook Month offering, I am cooking from Gâteau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes by Aleksandra Crapanzano.
Gâteau à la Purée de Châtaignes
Chestnuts are one of my favorite Fall ingredients. So, when I saw this recipe, I grabbed the jar of chestnuts and can of chestnut paste from my pantry and went to work. I found it interesting that Crapanzano mixes volume and weight measurements in her recipes. Most cookbooks use one or the other; most bakers use weight. I used weight for the chestnut and flour, volume for the others.
Also, she finishes with a dollop of Crème Fraîche. I made my cake a double-layer and used unsweetened whipped cream and chunks of boiled chestnuts to finish it.
200 grams chestnut purée (the cookbook calls for the sweetened version from Clément Faugier, I had the unsweetened version and it was delicious)
1 cup organic powdered sugar
7 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
150 grams almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 egg whites
organic heavy whipping cream
boiled chestnuts, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or butter your baking pans and line them with parchment paper; I used two 6-inch pans.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the chestnut purée, powdered sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla until pale and smooth. Add in the almond flour and baking powder. Beat to combine.
In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold a third of the egg whites into the chestnut mixture to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining egg whites.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before unmolding.
To finish, place cake on a platter. Top with unsweetened beaten whipping cream and crumbles of boiled chestnuts.
I can't wait to see what the other bloggers share this weekend as well as continuing to cook from my much-neglected books.
If you decide to join in the fun, post to Instagram, tag me (@Culinary_Cam) and use hashtags #CulinaryCam #NationalCookbookMonth; or share on my Facebook page with the same hashtags. Let's cook from a book!