Crème de marrons
This recipe is quintessential France for the autumn – a purée of chestnuts. It’s a sweet jam ideal for putting with profiteroles or choux pastry as an éclair, or spread on flaky pastry, or as part of a tart.
A lot of the online recipes call for 2 or more kg of chestnuts, but that gives LOTS of chestnut purée – so I’ve used a smaller amount.
500 g of shelled chestnuts
300 g sugar
100 ml water x 2
1. Put a cross with a sharp knife into the top of each chestnut. Put them in a pan and cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes, then plunge them into a tub of cold water.
2. Peel the chestnuts and take the inner skin off too, so you’re left with the flesh.
3. Boil the chestnuts in 100 ml of cold water. It will take about 10 minutes to boil them until you can mash them. Then put them in a food processor and whizz them until they are smooth. If you haven’t taken the outer skin off, this will make it bitter, which is why you need to get rid of them first. That’s the messy, tricky and annoying bit – but after that, it’s easy.
4. Put the 300 g sugar in a pan with 100 ml water and bring to a boil. Pour in the puréed chestnuts and keep over a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Rapid, but not chaotic, and not just simmering. Keep stirring from time to time.
5. Put into a sterilised jar, cover with a piece of waxed paper, seal and leave.
I’m keeping mine in the freezer until it’s cold enough in the pantry to keep it in there. Opinions vary as to how long it can be kept, from 1 month to a year, but err on the side of caution unless you want a nasty case of botulism!