A candied look on Chestnut

November 24th, 2010 | Posted by greg in Daily life...

A few weeks ago, Natalie (Hi Natalie :) ) left me a message on Facebook, asking me about marron glace… and a few days later, Moritz was asking me about quality candied lemon peel to make his favorite Lackerli cookies. Chestnuts weren’t a problem to find, but at this time of the year, thick skin lemon were nowhere to be found. We eventually received some from the Sichuan province in China, but it was normal lemon, just double in size, with the same thin skin as usual. So long for the lemon…

Following is the recipe and method I used to candy the chestnuts. Their sizes weren’t huge, but never mind, I was eager to test the process rather than making them for our customers… After the very first boiling, I understood why they were so expensive. So many chestnuts were breaking naturally into ‘segments’, thus making small bits and pieces. I would certainly recommend you to source large size chestnut and to select the nuts (yes, it’s a nut!) that are solid and in one piece like Ryan uses in his recipes. That said, I have kept all the broken pieces that can be used to mix into cream or blend into a paste. I still had some of Alain Abel fat and flavorful Tahitian vanilla on hand, and it fitted the job just fine. I guess depending on the size of your chestnut, you might need to continue the process a bit longer than I did.

Day 1

  1. Remove the brown shell from the chestnut.
  2. Boil them for 3 minutes and remove the second skin while still hot.
  3. Boil the chestnut using a basket, for 20 minutes in 1 liter of water with one table spoon of flour diluted in it. (mix the flour with a little bit of cold water to make sure it doesn’t make lumps)
  4. Remove the chestnut and drain the extra liquid.
  5. Boil 1.5 liter of water with 750 gm white sugar and 1 vanilla bean cut lengthwise. (I kept the vanilla bean in the liquid during the whole 8 days…)
  6. At the first boil, remove from the heat and keep your chestnut until the next day.

Day 2

  1. Remove the chestnut from the syrup.
  2. Add 125 gm white sugar to the liquid and boil it once.
  3. Remove from the heat and plunge the chestnut in the hot liquid for another 24 hours.

Day 3, 4, 5

Repeat the same process and every day, add 125 gm of white sugar.

Day 6

Repeat the same process with 500 gm of white sugar.

Day 7

  1. Remove the chestnut from the liquid.
  2. Add 250 gm of sugar and one table spoon of dark rum.
  3. Boil once and keep the chestnut in the hot liquid until the next day.
  4. At this point a fine crust might form on top of the liquid or around the chestnut. This is due to the saturation of sugar in the liquid. If this happens, add a little warm water in the liquid. Our goal is to keep the syrup as dense as possible.

Day 8

  1. Remove the chestnut from the liquid and drain them on a grid for 2 hours.
  2. Heat the oven at 210°C.
  3. Take 100 ml of the syrup and add some icing sugar to make a glazing.
  4. Deep the chestnut in this glaze, place them on the grid and onto the oven tray and bake them for 15 to 20 seconds to fix that glazing. It should not be sticky anymore.

I could have continued the process for a few days to have them ultra-candied like Clement Faugier’s Marron Glace, but I thought they were pretty good at that point…

A rather long process to obtain these sugar-packed goodies, I’d say. As a matter of fact, I can barely deal with a bite of it without having my teeth falling off, but for once a year, at the festive season, chopped into pieces and stuffed in my Mont-Blanc will be just perfect :)

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4 Responses

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  • May SO says:

    I would like to make marron glace too , thanks for sharing
    Let me make it later ^O^

  • Natalie Fung says:

    Hi Chef,

    Thank you very much for teaching us to make the marron glace!!!

    I’m so happy to learn this. I’m so happy and I can’t wait to try your recipe.

    Actually, I left HK to Italy on the 24th night so I missed this post. Chef, you know what I bought a box of “Marron Glace” from Rome. I was very fascinated when I saw it in a cake shop. They sold it 1.5 Euro for one piece.

    Off course, I can’t resist the temptation and tried it right away.Afterwards I did buy one box from the very big grocery shop called” Castoroni” near the Vatican City. It costed me like 10 Euro for 8 but I can’t tell whether it’s good or not. As I haven’t opened it yet…

    It’s really fantastic that I know how to make it now!!! I do appreciate of your great assistance, Chef!!!! THANK YOU VERY VERY VERY MUCH!!!!

    Lastly, I wish you and your family members all the best. Merry X’mas and Happy New Year to you all!!!

    Looking forward to attending your dessert class again!


    Natalie Fung

  • Gregoire says:

    Hello Natalie,

    It’s very nice to read your travel news from Italy!!
    I am sure my recipe will be nowhere near the quality of those Italian Marron Glace, but it’s a great start :)

    Have fun in Italy, travel safe and I also wish you and your family all the best for the year end!

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