- 1 3/4 pounds raw chestnuts
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Roast the Chestnuts
- Heat oven to 400 F, Cut an "X" into the flat side of each chestnut shell. Place chestnuts in a single layer on a sheet pan with a lip. Roast until shells begin to peel back, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes to cool. Peel shells and let chestnuts cool completely.
Make the Sweetened Chestnut Purée
- In a medium saucepan, bring roasted and peeled chestnuts, sugar, and water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 25 to 35 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Strain the chestnuts, reserving the liquid.
- Blend chestnuts in a food processor until smooth. While the food processor is running, slowly add as much reserved syrup as necessary through the food chute to achieve the desired consistency.
- Let cool completely before refrigerating.
Chestnuts Are Revered for Cooking in Europe and Asia
While most Americans associate chestnuts with the Christmas song about roasting them on an open fire, in Europe and Asia, they are highly prized.
Chestnuts are available fresh, dried, canned or vacuum-packed and ground into flour. It also is available packed in syrup, puréed and packed in cans and candied as in the French marrons glacés.
Here are international sweet and savory recipes using chestnuts:
- Chestnut Stuffing Recipe: This traditional recipe so evocative of the holidays can be made with fresh or canned chestnuts and is perfect for stuffing a bird or baked as a side dish.
- Chestnut Pasta in Butter and Sage Sauce Recipe: This recipe is a very old and traditional one for Italian peasant food elevated to a gift from the gods.
- French Mont Blanc Recipe: This dessert known as "white mountain" in French features meringues filled with chestnut purée.
- Turkish Chocolate-Covered Chestnut Recipe: Karyoka are rich, luxurious bites of chocolate-covered balls of chestnut purée sprinkled with ground pistachio nuts.
- Chestnut Pound Cake Recipe: Made with chestnut flour, this nutty-tasting pound cake has a subtle sweetness and a light, sophisticated flavor perfect for dessert, tea or a mid-afternoon snack.