Chestnuts took over my brain a few weeks ago when I saw them at the markets. I had an urge to find something amazing to do with them, which is coming tomorrow. Look at them, they’re strangely cute with all their beautiful brown curves all over the place.
But in the interim, here is a recipe to make the puree. After making it I would recommend buying a can or a jar of chestnut puree. While I found a reasonably easy way to prepare the chestnuts, it was not without nearly destroying my right thumb on sharp scalding chestnuts.
Ok, now that I’ve put you off, trust me this is the best way to get a roasted chestnut puree and fresh roasted chestnut puree is pretty amazing!
Makes about 3 cups of puree
1 kg of chestnuts
Chestnuts will explode in the oven if they don’t have a little slit cut into them. I tried many different slit shapes, the traditional cross, a straight slit down the back and I finally settled on cutting the tip off. I found the other methods harder to get out of their shells, especially as they cooled.
So cut the pointy top off each chestnut, being very careful not to slip and cut yourself.
Place them on a baking tray and bake at 230 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. To check if they’re ready, take one out of the oven (using tongs) and using a tea towel to protect your hands, you should be able to easily crack the shell to liberate the nut inside.
Once ready turn the oven down to low and take them out of the oven in batches to keep the remainder warm and easier to peel. Discard any nuts that are discoloured.
Once peeled, place the nuts in a pot of water, cover with water to around 1cm over the nuts and simmer for 30 minutes. The nuts will easily crush when pressed with the back of a spoon when ready. Blend until smooth. To use, it is best to press the puree through a sieve to make sure there are no lumps.
Your puree is ready to use in a delicious chestnut with orange and morello cherry tart…