Known in French as “crème de marrons”, chestnut cream is the ultimate Christmas comfort food in France. Sweet, creamy … Kids and adults enjoy this golden spread on toasts, waffles and crepes (just like nuttela or peanut butter). It is also delicious stirred into yogurt, with fleshy fruits (like banana or pear) and a drizzle of honey on top. It is the main ingredient of some elegant French desserts, such as the chocolate and chesnut fondant or chestnut mousse.
Chestnut cream is usually sold in tubes or cans in France and can be found in most grocery stores (and in Quebec, as well). But for those who can’t find it that easily, here is are simple instructions for you to make your own chestnut cream at home. But beware… it is addictive!
Chestnut CreamPrint This
2 lbs chestnuts
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Score your chestnuts with an “X”, deep enough to cut through the outer skin and transfer the chestnuts to a pot of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Remove the chestnuts from the water (keep the pot full of water, but turn off the heat) and peel the chestnuts.
Transfer the chestnuts back into the big pot and ensure they are covered with about an inch of water (dipose of the “unnecesary” hot water that’s left in the pot). Bring the water back to a boil and cook for about 15 minutes (until the chestnuts are very tender when poked with a fork). Drain the chestnuts and dispose of all the remaining water.
In a separate pan, combine sugar and water on medium-low heat, and cook until the sugar has dissolved.
In a food processor, puree the chestnuts with ¼ cup of the sugar liquid (made above) until smooth.
Transfer the chestnut puree into a pot, and add all the rest of the sugar liquid. Add the vanilla extract and salt. On low heat, cook for 1-2 minutes, until the puree thickens and holds to your spoon (it thickens fast!).
Keep the chesnut spread in a mason jar (or jam jar), in the fridge, for up to 5 days.