Remember the crique recipe I posted a while back? Well, prepare your kitchen utensils because I have another amazing recipe from the south of France that I think you will love. Ardèche is known for it’s savory crique, but did you know that it is also the largest chestnut producing department in France? Come discover why Ardèche is called “Sweet chestnut land” and find out how to make delicious candied chestnuts with this fun and easy recipe!
Roasting or candying chestnuts in Ardèche is a really fun family event. At least if you are the Faure family, anyways. One time Paul, his family and I, went out in the forest to collect chestnuts to be roasted and candied later that evening. Chestnuts are actually covered in a spiky shell, and that day for some reason I wasn’t wearing the best shoes and to remove the chestnut from it’s spiky covering you need to step on them in some sort. So that’s what we did and my feet got pricked plenty of times! Once we all gathered up a huge basket of fresh chestnuts we headed back home to further wash and remove their outer layer and prepare them for roasting and the candying.
Who knew preparing wild chestnuts required so much time preparing before being able to consume?
But don’t let me scare you! This recipe is easy to make when following the step-by-step directions. Let’s get started!
Preparation time: ~40 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour | Serves: ~6 people
You will need:
- 1 kg of chestnuts
- 1.5 kg of sugar
- 1.5 liters of water
- 1 Vanilla clove
- Carefully make an incision with a sharp knife in order to remove the two outermost thin layers of the chestnut. (Removing of the skin is not completed during this step, only the small incision is required).
The best way to do this is to start at the pointy bit of the chestnut and make a gentle incision from top down towards the clearer part at the base of the chestnut.
- Plunge them into a bowl of cold water.
After 5 minutes, take out 10 chestnuts and place in a saucepan with cold water and place over medium heat. Let boil for 2-3 minutes. At this time, since in the previous step you made an incision, the boiling water helps the chestnut skin layers to practically remove themselves.
- Complete the peeling process if necessary
Be careful! This process is delicate because the chestnuts are very fragile. You want to keep them as whole as possible.
- Re-put the chestnuts in cold water and bring it to a soft boil for 15 minutes
Do not overboil, however, as this could result in like a chestnut puree.
- When finished cooking, plunge cooked chestnuts back into cold water
This step helps the chestnuts to “refresh” themselves after 15 minutes in the hot sauna 😉
- In a pressure cooker, place above measurements of water and sugar
(1.5 kg sugar, 1.5 liters water) Place the heat on medium. Once the sugar has become transparent, turn up the heat.
- Once the syrup (water + sugar) begins to boil, add the vanilla clove (break in 2)
- Let boil on high for 3 minutes and then plunge the chestnuts into the syrup mix
- Let the boil come to a simmer for 1 minute
- Turn off the heat and let cool for 24 hours
- The next day drain the chestnuts and re-boil the syrup for 3-4 minutes
Re-plunge the chestnuts into the syrup and let cool for 3 minutes. Continue this step for the 3rd and 4th day.
- To finish, take out the cooled chestnuts and place on baking paper
Let the chestnuts air-dry. The leftover syrup can be eaten in yogurts, on fruits, or desserts.
- Bon appétit!
Hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe! Do let me know how your marrons glacés turned out! Thanks for staying updated on Bits of Bri. I haven’t been around lately, but now I’m back and will be publishing more often! For more recipes like this, go check out Marmiton (granted it’s all in French) but I often consult this website to double check on the measurements and ingredients I use for recipes.
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