Date: Sun, 16 May 1999 18:18:37 -0700
From: Jayne Spielman (email@example.com)
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: nonfat milk (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
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.