|Photo from Wikipedia|
A lot of time and effort go into chestnut preparation, that's why they cost what they do in the grocery store. They put up a mighty fight all the way. Even with heavy leather gloves and long handled tongs we still got pinched and scratched.
From our initial batch Marty cooked up a great chestnut soup. The second batch went into a complex candying process. Two separate recipes and two different outcomes. See below for the combined recipe - the best of both worlds.
|Leftovers still to be shelled.|
|Candied chestnuts after days of work. Yum.|
CANDIED CHESTNUTS – THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
(better known as "kestane şekeri" (kes-tahn-EH' sheh-keyr-EE' or Marrons Glacé).
1 kilogram/2.5 pounds large, fresh chestnuts
5 cups sugar
5 cups water
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
Cut a shallow X in the flat side of each nut with a sharp knife – spread out nuts, cut side up, on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 425F degree oven for 15 minutes, turn nuts and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Let nuts cool and peal outer shell off carefully.
Place shelled chestnuts in a large pan with just enough water to cover them. Bring the water to a boil and cook the chestnuts for 10 minutes. After they have cooled, rub any additional thin skin off.
In another saucepan, combine the water, sugar and optional vanilla. Bring to a boil and stir constantly until the sugar melts. Add the peeled chestnuts and stir until the whole mixture returns to a boil. Continue cooking the chestnuts, frequently stirring, for 10 minutes.
Pour the candied chestnuts, along with the vanilla sugar syrup into a large container, and loosely cover it. Allow the chestnuts to soak in the syrup for 12 to 18 hours.
Add the chestnuts and syrup to a clean pan and repeat the process; this time boiling them for 2 minutes, and then soaking the mixture, loosely covered, for 18 to 24 hours.
Repeat the entire process a total of 3 to 4 times, until the sugar syrup has been absorbed by the chestnuts. Be patient, these steps are important.
Preheat an oven to 250F and arrange the candied chestnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet into the oven and turn off the heat. Allow the chestnuts to dry in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until they have firmed up and the surface of the nuts are dry. Store the chestnuts in an airtight tin. Enjoy!
Charlotte Foraging #2: Persimmons - coming soon...