Peking Dust

(Photo by matt coats/Flickr)
(Photo by matt coats/Flickr)

A surprisingly delicious dessert in spite of its extreme simplicity.

Serves 8.


500 g/1 lb fresh chestnuts
300ml/10 fl oz/1 1/4 cups cream
4 tablespoons caster sugar
glazed walnuts (optional)


Make small slits in the chestnut shells or take a thin slice off the broad end to make them easier to peel. Bring to the boil in water to cover. Simmer for 20-25 minutes. Drain and when cool enough to handle, peel, taking care to remove all traces of the thin inner skin.

Whip cream with caster sugar until soft peaks form. Put a spoonful of cream in each of 8 dessert dishes. Press warm chestnuts through a coarse wire sieve over a plate to make what really does look like 'dust'. With a spoon, heap a thick layer of the sieved chestnut over the cream. Top with a glazed walnut if liked. The texture of this dessert cannot be achieved using chestnut purée.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)