" Marron Glaces"
My Nephew sent this recipe to me knowing how I love them.
Although they can be bought overseas in tins I wanted to make them myself. Turns out the recipe came from 'Nigella" and you know how good her food is!
I think the first sign of a blogger’s madness is seeing a recipe that takes 4 days and delightedly rubbing your hands with glee.
Which is exactly what I did (ok perhaps I did not rub my hands with glee, that seems a little old school villain) but when I saw this recipe for these sweet candied little chestnut morsels I had to try and make them. I am not foolish enough to think that mine will turn out as perfectly as Clément Faugier’s but I was happy to give it a go and see how it would turn out. First I must wait for the Holiday season. (Thanksgiving is only 3 weeks away, it's the season, don't you think?) Why my local grocery store has not stocked chestnuts yet is beyond me!
Photos, Not Quite Nigella
Marron Glacés (Candied chestnuts)
- 2 lbs Chestnuts (choose the larger type)
- 2 cups Sugar
- 1 cup Water
- 1teaspoon Vanilla bean paste or vanilla bean
2. Peel chestnuts of their outer shell. Drop them into boiling water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a slotted spoon or wire spatula, and, trying to keep the chestnuts whole, peel off both the outer shell and inner skin, as quickly as you can, while they are still hot. Once cold, the skin begins to adhere to the nut, so keep the unpeeled chestnuts in hot water. The broken pieces will taste just as wonderful.
3. When all the chestnuts have been shelled and the membranes removed, using a large pan, cook the sugar, water and the vanilla bean over low heat, stirring all the while until the sugar dissolves. Allow to gently simmer for 5 minutes, then add the chestnuts. Bring to the boil and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat and discard the vanilla bean.
4. Cover the saucepan and allow to steep over night or at least 12 hours. *Bring again to the boil and cook 1 minute more. Again allow to stand this time for 24 hours*. Repeat again from * to * until all the syrup has been absorbed (shouldn’t take more than 3-4 times). My syrup did not fully absorb after 4 days so I just drained the pieces. Cooking over the time may inhibit the crystallization process – which is dependent on the above steps.
5. Drying process: preheat oven to 200' f, cover an oven rack or baking rack with parchment paper (or waxed). Distribute the crystallized chestnuts evenly and allow to dry out for 2 hours with the oven door propped open a few inches or until they are firm.
Baked and ready to eat or store
6. Pack the chestnuts individually in cellophane or saran wrap; put into little crinkle-edge paper sweet cases, and keep in an airtight container. If kept more than a week or so, the sugar in the chestnuts may start to crystallize; in this case, it is better to preserve them in their syrup, draining them before use.
These wonderful little morsels can be eaten alone or used for, or in your favorite dessert recipes. I like to use them in my holiday stuffing. Really, their that tasty!
If you have 4 days to devote to something as simple as "Marion Glaces" then give it a go!