As the song goes "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire". When I was younger we did have them straight off the fire. I always remember my first taste of chestnuts though was when I was about four when my Dad one Christmas whilst we were shopping took us to a chap in Peterborough (we used to come in from Uppingham every so often shopping) with a brazier and bought us a bag. I had never tried them before then but was absolutely hooked and they have always featured just roasted in all our Christmas' down the line I even have a special Chestnut roasting pan. But I have never turned them into anything else or made a preserve with them but it looks as though that is about to change.
I found a recipe that I can do a bit at a time but it will fit in with my busy working schedule and the preparations in the run up to Christmas and it is for marrons glace and the recipe is as follows just in case you want to have a go and play yourselves.:
1 1b/500g fresh chestnuts
3 1/2 oz/200g granulated sugar
8fl oz/250ml liquid glucose
8fl oz/250ml water
3 1/2 oz/100g granulated sugar
3 tablespoons of water
1. Make a small cross cut in the top of each chestnut then boil for 2 minutes then peel away the shell and the inner skin with a small knife. If the nuts are hard to peel return them to the pan and bring to the boil again.
(at this point in the future I am going to try just boiling a few chestnuts at a time as I think that the nuts can become waterlogged with repeated boiling where doing a few at a time will preserve the integrity of the nut).
Also at this point when the nut is peeled in future I am going to pop into water with lemon juice as the nuts I have done have come up a lot darker than I had envisaged and I think the acidulated water might just help with the colouring lots of other recipes seem to suggest this.
2. Put the peeled chestnuts into a pan and cover with cold water then bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes until just tender. Drain and transfer to a shallow dish.
3. To make a sugar syrup put the sugar, liquid glucose and water into a saucepan heating gently until the sugar has dissolved then boil for one minute. Pour over the chestnuts cover with a plate to keep the nuts submerged and then leave in a cold place overnight.
4. On day 2 drain the syrup into a saucepan and boil for 4 minutes. Pour over the chestnuts cover and leave overnight as before.
On day 3 repeat as day 2 adding the vanilla extract after boiling.
On day 4 repeat the sugar boiling process once more. Add the chestnuts then soak for three days.
5. On day 7 arrange the chestnuts in a layer on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Leave in a warm place for 2 to 3 days turning once or twice until the coating is hard.
6. On day 9 or 10 make the glace finish. Boil some water in a pan. Put the sugar and water in another pan. Heat until the sugar has dissolved then boil for 1 minute. Using tongs then dip the chestnuts into the boiling water. Shake off the excess moisture then dip into sugar syrup. Dry the chestnuts overnight on a rack. Wrap in foil and store in an airtight container. They will according to the recipe keep for three months.
I am at point four and as I go on I will add further notes (if applicable) after all its a first for me having a go at making my own Marrons Glace.