Marron paste

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Posted by Susan on January 17, 1998 at 10:15:46:

In Reply to: Re: Phase One: Completed posted by Gterard on December 25, 1997 at 23:22:42:

: a recipe ... which we called original sin. For xmas I mix marron paste 50% into it and baked in a water bath, its more like truffle.


Hey, big-city baker, it's not like I can just pop down to the local Mini-Mart and ask if they've got any marron paste in the back! WWWeb sez there are two types of chestnut puree (unsweetened for meat, sweetened for desserts), so we're probably talking sweetened.

Does this recipe look all right?

Chestnut Dessert Puree
(makes about 8 cups thick puree)

4 pounds large, heavy chestnuts (watch out for worm holes)
4 cups water, more if necessary
3 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
Optional: milk or cream (to thin the puree)

1. Halve chestnuts with a heavy knife or cleaver. Place in a very large skillet or saucepan and add enough water to cover them. Boil for about 10 minutes or until the shells can easily be removed.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

3. Remove chestnuts, a few at a time, from the water. Peel off shells and husks, then place nuts in a large heavy saucepan. Add water, sugar, and vanilla bean to the pan and stir to mix in the sugar. The liquid should just cover the chestnuts. (Add more water if it doesn't.)

4. Bake uncovered for 2 to 3 hours. (Time will vary considerably, depending upon dryness of the nuts.) Stir nuts every 30 minutes, adding water, if necessary, until they are very tender and the syrup is very thick.

5. Let chestnuts cool completely in the syrup, then puree them in batches in a food processor or blender, adding milk or cream if you want to have a thinner puree. Press the entire mixture through the fine disc of a food mill. Divide the puree among 1- or 2-cup freezer containers. Seal, date, and freeze.

From Helen Witty and Elizabeth Schneider Colchie, “Better Than Store-Bought: A Cookbook” (NY: Harper & Row, 1979, ISBN 0-06-014693-1, out of print), pp. 248 - 249. This recipe is for a chestnut puree that may be served as-is or combined with liquors, creams, custards, and the like to make more elaborate preparations — an all-purpose chestnut dessert base, in other words.

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