Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Home-made Treat

Just in case I've stirred anyone's interest in marron glacé they are quite easy to make at home.I found this recipe in the Daily Telegraph. I wouldn't imagine they would keep very long, unlike the commercially produced ones but if anyone has a spare five minutes in between baking the mince pies and preparing the stuffing on Christmas Eve (I can hear the howls of anguish even now !) here's the recipe

You will need

150g (5oz) chestnuts
Half cup of caster sugar
Half cup fresh orange juice
113g (4oz) icing sugar, sifted
1 tbsp ground cinnamon (or more, to taste)

1. Peel chestnuts and steam for 7-8 minutes over a pan of simmering water.
2. Put the orange juice and caster sugar together in a pan. Bring to boiling point on the hob and reduce to a syrupy (like light caramel) consistency ( 3-4 minutes). Quickly tip the chestnuts in, stir very gently to coat them. Drain off the syrup, and spoon the chestnuts individually onto a wire rack to cool. Tip chestnuts into a bowl and coat lightly in icing sugar and cinnamon (to taste).
3. On greaseproof paper, dry chestnuts in the oven (40C) for 10 minutes. Garnish with orange peel.

recipe and photo curtesy of the Daily Telegraph.

Home-made marron glacé would make a lovely Christmas present for friends in these cash-strapped times. Arranged in a pretty box, with a bow, or hand crafted gift swanky-looking present for not much cost, just a bit of effort.

I don't know how good the chestnut harvest is going to be this year. We have masses of sweet chestnut trees all around us, but the real chestnut territory is in central France, and the Perigord in particular.

I do like them with Brussell sprouts, but I have to admit all that peeling ruins one's Christmas nails! So I'm ashamed to say I buy them ready-to-go. The tin ones are OK but I think the vacuum packs are better as the chestnuts are drier and seem to break up less easily.

Tinned chestnut purée is a great store cupboard stand-by. Whipped up with a little cream to 'slacken' the mixture,(adding caster sugar to taste if the purée is unsweetened) then tipped into bought meringue cases, and topped with a drizzle of melted chocolate to which a little rum has been added.... disgustingly delicious!

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