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  • De captivants à banals, les articles et photographies de “The Baguette” sont une tentative de publier un journal de ma vie dans la Manche et de proposer un forum de discussion pour tout ce qui touche à la Normandie.
  • De captivants à banals, les articles et photographies de “The Baguette” sont une tentative de publier un journal de ma vie dans la Manche et de proposer un forum de discussion pour tout ce qui touche à la Normandie.

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October 17 2012 4 17 /10 /October /2012 16:04

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8190/8112557357_8f09fdb259_b.jpgPerhaps the best way to eat chestnuts is to eat them fresh out of the oven.  Roasting them over an open fire just doesn’t seem to be as easy as it sounds.  The first thing one needs to do is to preheat the oven to 180°C (350° F).  Use a sharp paring knife to (carefully) score a deep X in the shell.  Put the nuts on a baking sheep and put them in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, until the shell starts to curl open.  Once they can be handled comfortably, peel away both the hard and outer shell and the papery inner shell.  The remaining flesh can be eaten as is and is a welcome treat this time of year.  After a week or so after falling from the tree, the nuts begin to shrink and begin to spoil if they are not eaten right away.  Since I had about a kilogram of chestnuts and couldn’t fathom eating all of them in a week, the next best option was to make my own crème de marrons, a recipe that takes quite a bit of work but yields unspeakably good results.  Here in France, few people make their own crème de marrons because it can easily be found already prepared in cans in the grocery store.  Last weekend I made my own using the following recipe:

1.5 kg chestnuts

700 g sugar

2 cas (tbs) vanilla

water

pinch of salt

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8323/8112556589_fa25dfe335_b.jpgBoil the chestnuts in for approximately 30 minutes to soften the skin.  Then, using a sharp knife, remove the skin and place the crumbled flesh in large bowl.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8468/8112565700_3cf19f8fd4_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8328/8112555445_2081174186_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8336/8112555199_8f1b66517c_b.jpgAfter cleaning up your mess it is time to purée the nuts by using a food mill.  If you don’t have a food mill, a food processor will work as well.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8184/8112554997_721a9d3302_b.jpgThe result is a finely crumbled bowl of chestnut purée.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8056/8112555943_85f2b27d13_b.jpgWeigh the chestnut purée, put it back into the pan, and add an equal weight of sugar. For every 1 kg of sweetened purée, add 100 ml water (or for every 16 oz add 3.25 fluid oz).  Add about two spoonfuls of vanilla to the pot, along with a pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof rubber spatula, until it has thickened so that it starts to pull away from the pan as you stir. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8046/8112555705_2c02f61b59_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8190/8112563902_85bab0c0ef_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8195/8112564140_b465218b2b_b.jpgBe sure to keep your spoon going along the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching.  Do this for approximately 20 minutes.  Once the mixture has cooled it can be placed into jars or plastic Tupperware and kept for several weeks in the refrigerator or up to a year in the freezer.

So what does one do with crème de marrons?  It can be served simply with fromage blanc, as a filling for crêpes, or added to whipped cream or crème pâtissiere to fill a classic bûche de Noël or other cake. Stir some into an ice cream base or use it in a pear tart. You could also, of course, give it away. Here are the results from a muffin recipe:  It is absolutely delicious. 

300gr de farine

2 oeufs

100gr de beurre (fondu)

100gr de sucre blanc

100gr de sucre roux

20cl de crème liquide

200gr de creme de marron

1/2 sachet de levure

Mélanger le tout, remplir les moules et cuire 180°c 35 minutes.http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8328/8113908500_08e0642db0_b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8052/8113915428_c27bd0b0bd_b.jpgBe careful not to overfill your molds like I did.  My muffins turned out fantastic but they were so big they merged into one another in the tray.  Lesson learned !http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8331/8113903207_d4a7868a0f_b.jpg

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