Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sweet Chestnut Puree

Lucky me, I have a friend with a gorgeous chestnut tree in her backyard, and every fall it becomes a fertile disaster area, filled with huge mace-like bombs waiting to fall on your head and maim you. Seriously, these things hurt! They were all over the backyard, and you are so tempted to just grab them, but hold on and get some sturdy gloves first! Once they are out of their protective pods, they are so aesthetically pure, beautifully smooth and a rich chestnut brown. I wanted to make a sweet chestnut puree and that's just what I did, mashing some different Mont Blanc recipes for inspiration. Now I've got to figure out what to do with this beautiful, sweet and nutty spread. I was thinking a cake rolled with the chestnut puree and some mascarpone. Oh, my god, doesn't that sound divine?

Cut an x in the flat side of the chestnuts and roast them for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees so the skin peels back. Once you've done that, measure out about two cups of them and put them in a heavy pot with 1 cup of sugar and 2 cups of water. Bring this to a boil and let simmer until the syrup reduces, about 30 minutes. Take it off the heat, and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Put the chestnuts in a processor with some of the syrup. Puree to your desired consistency. Let cool.

I found that I used all of the reserved syrup and had to add more water because I wanted a smoother creamier paste. Initially, the texture was like marzipan, but I didn't want to mold it, I wanted to spread it. Now I just need to find something to spread it on...


  1. Ooo lovely! I will try this with the next batch. It might be nice spread on a crusty baguette with some super aged salty gouda. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Hey Spicey D! That sounds great. I had some with greek yogurt and it was really good. Thanks for commenting!

  3. I want to make a Mont Blanc!! The only thing that is stopping me is the puree work. Sigh ... spare me some? :)

  4. Hi Ju! I will give you some puree, if you can share the Mont Blanc!!

  5. Lovely post and photos... I found in that Chestnut everything book the puree can even be easy as cutting them in half [ a bit tricky as they like to rock, much like me] and boil them for ten min. and they slip from the outer casing. You can then re boil them in sweet or savory liquid for ten minutes.

  6. Thanks, C! Good tip, sounds much easier..I should've asked you if that was in there...

    [Oh, I *know* how you like to rock.]