Total Time:
55 min
15 min
40 min

Serves 4

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Red grapes in syrup, recipe follows
  • Caramelized chestnuts, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • Red grapes in syrup:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 bunch large seedless red grapes, removed from the vine
  • Caramelized chestnuts:
  • 1 pound whole fresh chestnuts in the shell
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a cookie sheet.

  • Combine the flour, sugar and baking powder in a food processor and pulse quickly to blend. Add the cold butter and pulse quickly until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg, almond extract and milk until smooth. With the food processor running, add the liquid all at once and blend 10 to 15 seconds, until the dough just forms a ball.

  • Transfer the dough to a well-floured cutting board and shape into a log about 14 inches long and 1 1/2 inches thick. Form the log into a ring in the center of the cookie sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until light golden brown. Remove, transfer to a rack and cool to room temperature.

  • Cut the cake into slices about 1 inch thick, top with a tablespoon each of the red grapes in syrup and the caramelized chestnuts. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Red grapes in syrup:
  • Combine sugar, water and wine in a saucepot. Bring up to a boil dissolving all the sugar in the liquid. Add the grapes and cook until they just barely burst. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Caramelized chestnuts:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. With a paring knife, score the bottom of each chestnut with an "x". Roast the cut chestnuts on a baking sheet for 20 minutes. Remove chestnuts from oven and wrap in a dishtowel until cool enough to handle. Peel off chestnut shells. In a large saute pan, melt the butter and add the chestnuts. Cook over a low flame for about 5 minutes. Once evenly browned, add the sugar and toss. Allow to caramelize for another 5 to 6 minutes.

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