You can get very good chestnuts in syrup (not exactly marrons glacés but very close) in stores selling Middle Eastern or Turkish products - I bought a jar of Dagli brand last week and have tried others - the Dagli ones are very good, quite large, whole nuts in syrup, drained weight 400 grams or almost a pound - and only $6.99 per jar - just a little more than Fauchon wants for one single piece.
This is, I think, the 3rd year this has been discussed (on the General board in the past).
No one in my remembrance has been able to make them at home.
I went through a candying phase (wholefruits, nuts, pates de fruit) and tried to make marrons glaces. No go -- even with a couple of promising-looking recipes.
I think they are really just something that has to be made commercially.
I have been trying to make them for the last few years, also with no success.
The recipes I used were similar to Cynthia's, but if I remember correctly, called for the chestnuts to sit in the syrup for 12 or 24 hours between simmerings. And I also got chestnut mush, and even the whole ones did not have the texture I was looking for.
Maybe this is one of those things that don't work at home, and it is worth the price to buy them.
However, one of Helen Witty's books, either "Fancy Pantry" or "Better Than Store Bought" has a recipe for chestnuts in rum syrup that is easy and delicious, although not marrons glacees.
re: ruth arcone
Must be "Better than Store Bought." I have "Fancy Pantry" and it's not there.
Found this, though, in Larousse Gastronomique, which I thought might interest those brave souls who have tried: "Marrons Glacés are first preserved and then glazed. This is a long and extremely intricate process and is therefore seldom undertaken in the home."
Uh-oh. Sounds like a challenge to me.
Thanks all for your input.
Hey there...yeah, I had that idea last year...I made a few delicious glaceed chestnuts and a whack of delicious glaceed chestnut mush :-) Quite by accident of course...ticked me off, since I am a 'food professional'. Ah, how quickly after leaving cooking school do we realize how meaningless that really is! But I will of course be happy to share my recipe.
First, peel the hard skin off 2 1/4 pounds of chestnuts. Then throw them in a pot of boiling lightly salted water for about 20 minutes. Then take it off the heat and let them steep for 5 minutes. Then peel off the outer membrane. Okay. Now that you are exhausted from all that fun, the fun really starts.
Put the chestnuts in a large frying pan type pan that can go on a burner. Set aside for the moment. Take a pot and add to it 1 quart of water and 2 1/2 cups of granulated sugar. You can add a vanilla bean or some orange peel or whatever you like as a flavouring as well. Bring this to a boil and let it cook down until it is slightly thickened - you want it to be fairly liquid, but a little thicker. Pour this over the chestnuts and let them simmer for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, take it off the heat.
Let them cool. Then heat them up and simmer for about 10 minutes. Take them off the heat and let them cool. Do this about 3 times or until you think they look saturated enough for your taste....maybe once will be enough, maybe twice, etc. Of course, I had never actually seen a marron glacee until I decided to make them, so perhaps my downfall was not knowing what I was looking for :-)
Remove them from the syrup one at a time and either serve or reserve for other uses...I guess you could roll them in sugar if you wanted. The mush I created was especially nice on some homemade chocolate ice cream :-) I'm still a little bitter....this year I ordered some from an online catalogue. They are delicious!
Thanks, Cynthia. Since I'm strictly a "food amateur," although a very enthusiastic one, and since these were meant to be a gift and a jar of glaceed mush--no matter how declicious--probably wouldn't cut it, perhaps you could tell me where you ordered them from. Just hope the cost is something less than a prime rib roast--although I suspect not.
re: bibi rose
I thought I saw them for sale at Jacques Torres shop for a lot less. You may want to call or contact them and see if they still have them and they'll ship. I don't see them on their website though.
Jacques Torres Chocolate
66 Water Street (Between the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges)
Brooklyn, New York 11201
718.875.9772 phone 718.875.2167 fax email@example.com