Thursday, 15 October 2015

Sweet Chestnut Puree

Harvest time. :)
We are lucky that there is a "secret wood" where we can find a lot of lovely sweet chestnuts every Autumn. Another great harvest this year.
Sweet chestnuts are commonly used in savoury dishes in the UK, but for me, sweet chestnuts should be for "sweet" treats.  So, I made sweet chestnut puree. Yes, "sweet" sweet chestnut puree.
First, the shell needs to be removed. That's the hard bit.
Here is the way I did it.
  1. Cut a cross in the chestnut shell.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 200C and place a roasting dish or oven tray inside. 

  3. Pop the chestnuts into a saucepan of water and bring it up to the boil. 
  4. Once it is boiling, start your timer for 2 
minutes. At the end of that time, drain the water off the chestnuts and tip the still steaming chestnuts onto the hot 
oven tray in the oven. 

  5. Leave the chestnuts in the oven for 7 minutes.
  6. While the nuts are roasting, prepare a large bowl and put a tea towel inside the bowl. 

  7. Toss the nuts inside the tea towel in the bowl. This will keep the nuts warm as you peel them. 
It’s easier to peel them when they are warm.
  8. Pull one nut out at a time from under the towel and pull the shell and fluffy inner skin away from the kernel. 
Keep going until you’re all done. 
If you are making puree, the shape of the chestnut doesn’t matter. So, use a teaspoon and scoop out the flesh.
Now the next bit is much easier.  
For chestnut puree, you will need;
  • 300g chestnuts (unshelled weight)
  • 300ml milk

  • 200g sugar

  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp Vanilla paste)
  1. Chop the chestnuts roughly then place in a saucepan with the milk, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a simmer so 
that all the sugar dissolves and continue to heat for about 20 minutes so that the chestnuts have a chance to 
absorb some of the milk. 

  2. Remove the vanilla bean. Pour the remaining ingredients into a blender (be careful! It will be hot!) then blend 
until it forms a thick liquid. 

  3. Return the liquid back to the saucepan and heat, stirring continuously until it thickens and forms a bubbling 
paste. Let the chestnut puree cool before using it.

Now this lovely "sweet Chestnut Puree" is ready to be used for sweet treats.
I made "Mount Blanc cupcakes." I guess it's a Japanese-French fusion style of cake. 
Click here for the recipe.

... or you could make some little "Chestnut Truffles."
Simply, mix leftover cake crumbs and the chestnut puree together.
Roll into small balls and roll in cocoa powder. That's it. Enjoy.

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