Chestnuts are a very good source of minerals, vitamins (particularly vitamin C) and phyto-nutrients. Unlike other nuts, they are quite low in fat (with high oleic acid content), having a good proportion of starch. They are gluten free.
Chestnut puree is very versatile for desserts or cakes as well as for stuffing in savory dishes. It can be preserved for up to a year in vacuum sealed glass jars, so you can prepare it now and enjoy it throughout the year!
To prepare 6x500g (6x1lb) jars:
- 2 kg (5lb) chestnuts
- 1.5 kg (3lb) of sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1 vanilla pod
Make a circular cut at the top of each chestnut.
Place the chestnuts on a pan and cover with cold water. Boil them for 7-8 minutes. Drain well and peels the chestnuts.
Cook once again the peeled chestnuts in warm water for about 5 minutes. They will be ready when you can squash them easily.
Grind them with the blender or mixer, until you get a fine puree.
In a big pan, add the sugar, the water and the vanilla pod (crushed open) to get a thick sugar syrup. Cook at high heat 3 minutes.
Add the mashed chestnuts to the sugar syrup and mix thoroughly. Slow cook the whole for 10-15 more minutes, stir often. It will thicken and become darker.
To check for the right consistency, take some with a tablespoon and try to pour it onto a plate. If it remains stick to the spoon, it’s ready.
Stop the heat and fill the glass jars with the chestnut puree. Close them immediately and put them upside down to create a vacuum.
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Keep it in the glass jars for up to year, in a cool and dry place.
Use of the chestnut puree:
It is perfect with soft cheese, plain yoghurt, on a toast for breakfast, or with crêpes. It can also be used as a garnishment for desserts, for example with vanilla ice cream.
If you're short of time or chestnuts are out of season, you can prepare the puree with frozen or canned chestnuts instead. In the first case, you can skip the step of peeling as they come already prepared, while canned chestnuts come ready to eat, so you can skip the peeling and the cooking steps.
Other chestnut recipes:
The star winter recipe with this ingredient is obviously roasted chestnuts! I love those when cooked on a fire, they remind me of the time when I was (even ) younger.
For an awesome idea of a dessert recipe that you can do with one of your newly prepared puree jars, try this chocolate chestnut refrigerator cake. It's super easy, super good and super dangerous for your diet!