If you’ve only been roasting chestnuts consider this pressure cooker recipe an intervention. Chestnut cream is a decadent, rich and addictive pleasure.
|Chestnut cream on sweet vanilla white polenta squares drizzled with chestnut honey.|
The best things in life are free for the taking.. if you know where to look!
Last week, chestnuts began falling from the sky, tumbling to the ground, cracking open and waiting to be swooped home.
|Vittorio and Adriana gathering chestnuts on 2,500 year-old road (Via Appia Antica), outside of Rome.|
Using wild chestnuts is a bit of a challenge- they are all different ages, sizes and shapes. They are much more difficult to work with than supermarket chestnuts that have come from carefully tended trees that have been harvested at the same time and run their nuts through machinery to sort and package similarly aged and sized-chestnuts.
|Wash wild chestnuts by dunking in large bowl with water and a splash of vinegar, swooshing them around to remove dirt and then strain and rinsing well. Discard any chestnuts with small holes or cracks. Dry completely before refrigerating or freezing.|
Peeling chestnuts is usually a very painful process. Thankfully, I found a YouTube Video that carefully describes the problem and gives a beautiful solution.
The Badgersett Farms chestnut peeling technique could not be easier. Here it is in a nutshell:
- Slice raw chestnuts in half.
- Bring a small pot of water to boil, and dump the chestnuts halves in.
- As soon as the water begins to boil again, strain.
- Use needle-nose pliers (they recommend spring handled- I really need a pair!) to pinch the skin and peel off the chestnut half.
- Work quickly and with small batches, because as the chestnuts cool, the become more difficult to peel.
The video shows almost all the chestnuts being easily peeled. Your mileage may vary. My mangy wild Italian chestnuts only peeled perfectly about 25% of the time – the rest I had to un-shell using the tedious spoon-handle method. You want to make sure you remove the inner (hairy) membrane that wants to sick to the chestnut meat. It doesn’t have an off flavor, but will give chestnut recipe an unpleasant astringent after-effect.
|Pressure Cooker||Accessories||Pr. Cook Time||Pr. Level||Open|
|6 L or larger||none||20 min.||High(2)||Natural|
- 1½ pounds or 750g fresh chestnuts
- about 11oz or 300g white sugar
- about 11oz or 300g water
- Optional splash of Rum Liquor (1/8th of a cup or to taste)
- Halve and peel the chestnuts, using the Badgersett Farms technique, described above.
- Weigh the peeled chestnuts in the pressure cooker and write it down.
- Then, zero out the scale (zero or tar button) and add half the chestnut's weight in sugar (or more to taste) and half the chestnut's weight in water. For example, I rounded up the weight of my chestnuts to 500g of peeled chestnuts, add 250g of sugar and 250g of water.
- Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker reaches pressure, lower to the heat to the minimum required by the cooker to maintain pressure. Cook for 20 minutes at high pressure.
- When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural release method - move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes).For electric pressure cookers, disengage the “keep warm” mode or unplug the cooker and open when the pressure indicator has gone down (20 to 30 minutes).
- Add an optional splash or rum to taste (I used about ⅛th of a cup). Puree the contents by tilting the pressure cooker and blending with an immersion blender until desired consistency.
- Serve to use as a spread, like jam, on bread, cakes and sweets.
Yields about 1½ cups
Wow!! They look SO tempting. Too yummy!!!!
Thanks Minnie. I’m lucky enough to live in an area where you can BUY chestnut spread. Just for fun I looked at a jar yesterday. It has for time the sugar of the chestnuts (200% their weight instead of 50%) PLUS glucose and fructose, vanilla flavor, and pectin!
Basically the store-bought stuff is chestnut flavored sugar.
The flavor of making this spread is knock-your-head chestnut with just enough sweet to make it breakfast or dessert-worthy!
I can’t see the whole recipe because of the right hand side’s ads. I need to know how many minutes to cook the chestnuts and I can’t see it.
HA! You have a knack for making brown shapeless food look good. Your chestnut truffles are amazing, too. I follow your “Foodiegami” board on Pinterest.
Thanks for visiting and the compliment Jenny!
The pressure cooking time is 20 minutes. What device (computer, phone, ipad) are you using and do you know the browser?
You should be only seeing a coupon on the right of the recipe. The ad is at the bottom – where it does me no good.. but is less annoying.
In IE, the ads spill over from the right into the text column – just enough so that you lose the last few characters in each line where the ads are (just FYI). Thanks for the technique heads up – we’re going to try that for sure!
How annoying. I can’t seem to reproduce the problem with my IE but I would like to solve it. Can you be more specific on what the ads look like? Is the amazon.com ad with the pressure cooker “carousel” or are they the photos on top of the list of links?
You read my mind! I just came over from a chestnut and pasta recipe and was thinking that I needed to roast pine nuts again this year. Never would have thought of pressure cooking them. I should have known that if it could be done, I’d find it here. The spread looks delicious!
MJ, well.. maybe I was a little melodramatic. You can also roast and peel your chestnuts and THEN make the cream.. but I don’t really know how much water you would need to add then.
Ciao and have fun!!
I can’t believe you’ve found a way to make my favourite thing in the world – roast chestnuts – even NICER.
Can you do this walnuts?
I’ve seen online recipes for whole walnuts blended in cream cheese, honey, ect. The only benefit to pressure cooking walnuts would be to soften and sweeten them so you could make a very smooth cream.
Why not? Try it!
That peeling tip sounds like magic! I’ve never mastered the art of peeling chestnuts. I usually roast them anyway, but when I need them peeled (for a stuffing) I just buy them pre-peeled, knowing I’m compromising. But this sounds really easy…
Let me know how it works out for you. According to the video American Chestnuts are the easiest to peel!
P.S. Yesterday my local store had bags of dried, peeled chestnuts and I just pulled my shopping cart next to the display and pushed them all in. Greedy? Nooooo!!
They do have the convenience of lasting indefinitely. I really enjoy soaking them in milk overnight in the fridge for use in soups and desserts – an overnight milk-soak also does wonders with almonds.
Oh, Laura… I am a card-carrying chestnut slut. I am not ashamed.
Best part is, my Asian market sells bags of already peeled chestnuts that I horde and inhale when nobody’s looking.
Can’t wait to get into some savory applications for the stuff as well as sweet stuff. Thanks for this!!
Jen, chestnut butter!?!? Hmmmm…
Check-out the recipe linked above for chestnut soup. Just add cream – and then scream with delight!
Laura, I too can’t see the whole recipe. It seems as though starting from the second picture in this recipe all the pictures and text are outside of the space that you designated in the middle so they run to the right of the page and get hidden underneath the ads. It’s only on this particular recipe. Hope you can fix it. I just bought an InstantPot and am in real need of recipes as it really doesn’t come with any (about 5 recipes in the manual :() so I’ve been going thru your site and I love it!
Maya, thanks for the details. Telling me it was JUST this recipe really helped. I had tried to do “responsive design” with it – where the images would stretch according to the browser and screen size being used. It appears that some browsers are not ready for percentages.
I put set widths back in the images in this recipe. Can you tell me if the problem has been solved?
love this site!
scusa se non traduco in Inglese,ho pochissimo tempo…
Ho fatto oggi questa crema di castagne :-)
Erano castagne comprate in negozio e sicuramente non fresche come le tue.
Sono riuscita a pelarle abbastanza bene,facendole bollire circa un minuto,tirandone fuori due o tre per volta e lasciando immerse le altre nell’acqua bollente .
Dimenticavo di dire che ho fatto questo procedimento diverse volte,immergendo ogni volta solo una grossa manciata di castagne. Ho seguito i tuoi dosaggi per acqua e zucchero e i tuoi tempi.
Alla fine ,le castagne erano molto sode anche se cotte.
Forse perchè non erano freschissime.
Le ho frullate con il minipimer e sono venute abbastanza bene,ma l’impasto è molto asciutto,molto più del tuo.
Ho anche messo del rum ma è comunque molto asciutto.
Ma è SQUISITO !!!! Ne ho messo la maggior parte nei vasetti che tra un po’ sterilizzerò,ma c’è un vasetto che aspetta mio marito :-)
Penso che le dosi di acqua e zucchero possono variare leggermente in base alla qualità delle castagne e alla loro freschezza.
Ciao e grazie!
Allora sono venute come dovevano! :-)
Non si potrebbe mettere un po’ di acqua in più per renderle più morbide?
Ah…Prima di mettere le castagne nell’acqua bollente le avevo divise a metà,come nel video.
Solo vengono meglio se non sono scolate ma si lasciano immerse :-)
Ciao di nuovo e di nuovo grazie
Ciao Elvira, grazie per il commento! Allora, il risultato finale non dovrebbe essere lucido come la foto (c’e miele sopra). Sarebbero, infatti, un po’ piu’ come una pasta, simile a una polenta soda .In somma, non particolarmente belle ma come hai gia’ provato.. buone!!!
Comunque, se vorresti un prodotto piu’ fine potresti aggiungere poco, poco olio vegetale insaporito.
To English Readers: Elvira made this recipe and she is concerned that it came out too dry. I answered the result won’t be shiny like the photo (there is honey on there, too), it should be a bit of a dry paste – a little smoother than play-dough consistency. If it is TOO pasty, then you can always add a little flavorless vegetable oil.
I am finally home with my brand new Kuhn Rikon, and I am itching to go, though I will have to wait until next week – but getting ready for it, so two questions for you:
1. I have a nice pack of “castagne al naturale”, i.e. already peeled chestnuts: I don’t know how cooked through they are, though. Do you have any experience with using these, and what is your best guess for cooking time?
2. how long does the chestnut cream keep for?
Are the chestnuts dry or in a can? If they are dry you should soak the chestnuts overnight in either water or milk before pressure cooking.
However, don’t worry. You cannot “overcook” them – the point of this recipe is to get them completely infused with the sugar.
The spread will keep for three months in the refrigerator or a year in the freezer – but seriously you’ll finish it much, much sooner!!
thanks Laura, sorry it took me so long to get back to you – in the meantime however I’ve found out from the manufacturers that the chestnuts are cooked (and vacuum packed), not just blanched to take the skin off (and no, they are not dried).
But I see what you say, I presume even dried chestunts must have been cooked before drying, and they are soaked before being cooked, so hopefully even if there is water in my cooked chestnuts it shouldn’d prevent them from being “candied”.
OK, let me know how they turn out – and snap a pic to post your your comment (new feature) above the “post comment” button.
This might seem like an odd question, but do you think this recipe could be used as a starting point for a dried fruit puree? I’m thinking about apricots, in particular?
Jus in time for the season! My chestnut recipes have never been too impressive. Thank you!