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Chestnuts!

As I was walking to work, I noticed a great deal of chestnuts lying around in the park, so I was thinking I would grab a bag and pick some up on the way home.

What do I do with them then? I remember someone in college microwaving them, and they were quite good (scored the top, I believe, then just popped them in)

What else? I know they're everywhere this time of year, so other people must have thoughts

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  1. Have a bag sitting here. Had them in Italy as a dessert Marrons Glacés with fresh cream and liquor it was to die for otherwise never have been a huge fan.

    I found a Pear Strudel with Chestnut Cream and Pear Chip recipe in - The French Laundry Cookbook that looks easy enough for a non baker like myself to make. Looks like the perfect fall dessert.

    Also, saw in our Julie Rooso's cookbook a Chestnut-Potato Puree that looks delish.

    I can post these if you like.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Lori SF

      I'd love a recipe for the marrons glaces!

      1. re: itryalot

        sorry I don't have that one, this was something I had in Rome many years ago and still dream of sorry sorry..maybe somebody here will see this and have a clue as to how you make this dish. I remember the glace coating was luxurious covering the chilled chestnuts so when you took a bit in you were pleasantly suprised between the warm covering and chilled glaces..then the cream sauce was heaven with a bit of liquor that was almost like a brandy not too sweet but with heat.. everytime I see the word chestnut I have a flash back.

        I have the other recipes I mentioned.

        1. re: itryalot

          I don't have a recipe, but I used to help make them when I worked at a French bakery in Ottawa. Trust me - they're a PITA to make. You have to repeatedly soak and coat them with syrup over several days, and if you don't store them properly, they rot. Oh, and they almost always break.

          1. re: piccola

            Was this "The French Baker" in the Byward market?

            I tried making marrons glacees a few times, and failed. I am going to try again this year, and will start a thread on it, as I said in another thread. Hope you can help with it, piccola. BTW did you also work at Piccolo Grande (looking at your nick) :-) ?

            The French Baker did not make them last Christmas as they do not sell well.

            1. re: souschef

              Alors Souschef, have you tried the marrons glacés yet?

              1. re: buttertart

                I bought some yesterday, and plan to start the long process this week.

                BTW I will be getting a kilo from Confiserie Rohr in Geneva for Christmas, so will have my benchmark on hand for comparison.

                1. re: souschef

                  Pretty damn high benchmark, looking forward to hearing about the process and outcome. (The best I ever had by the way were from Bernachon in Lyon. Too bad you're not in NY, there is a Turkish cafe here - a branch of Gulloglu in Istanbul - that sells chestnut baklava - very good marrons glacés in baklava pastry anointed with sheep's milk butter.)

              2. re: souschef

                Sorry for the (incredibly) belated reply! Yes, it was the French Baker, though I haven't worked there in nearly about 8 years, so many things must have changed.
                I never worked for Piccolo Grande, sorry -- but I do love their gelato. This is just a longstanding nickname.

        2. Where do you live? If you're in North America, the chestnuts you've seen lying around are NOT edible. Our native chestnut trees died out years ago due to some imported bug or fungus or something. The chestnut trees we have are horse chestnuts - the tree looks very similar but the nuts are definitely not good to eat. Actually I think they're poisonous.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Nyleve

            not entirely true. there are a number of newer planted trees that are edible. the husk/shell is the difference.if it is sort of brushlike with lots of thin softer spines almost like a brush on the outside as opposed to hard spaced spines on the outside then it is a edible chestnut as opposed to a horse chestnut, which is actually a member of the buckeye family and the nits shouldnot be eaten. If they are real chestnuts, write again and I'll give you some recipes for wonderful things to do with them

            1. re: Nyleve

              I live in Massachusetts and my chestnut tree is most definitely not a horse chestnut. They're quite easy to tell apart. There is a thread currently on the Boston board that helped me identify mine, and it has lots of good links to pictures.

            2. I'm in seattle...are they really not edible? When I lived in New Hampshire we always picked them up and ate them...is that not okay?

              1. home with a head cold I seemed to miss the part that you saw them in the park. No not for human consumption for squirrels only.

                1. just taste 1 - microwave or boil or bake - and see how it tastes - they might be chinese chestnuts , which r just as delicious as the italian chestnut. if they are indeed horse chestnuts , u will taste the acidity right away - but they arent poisonous - they just taste like crap. I nave 10 chinese chestnut trees and i cant wait till the nuts drop in the fall - they are superb.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: dibob817

                    Please check this link. Yes they really are poisonous - please don't eat horse chestnuts. Make sure you have the right kind before you taste.

                    http://museum.gov.ns.ca/poison/chestn...

                    1. re: Nyleve

                      well, ty for the link - sure surprised me though. As a child , there was a horse chestnut right down the road from my house - and there qwere real chestnuts around then also) and i ate a horse chestnut maybe twice - never remember gettign sick. But I did always have a cast iron stomach.

                      again, ty 4 the info - and I stand corrected.

                      1. re: dibob817

                        Always happy to save a life on a rainy Saturday.