Do you love chestnuts and the feelings that come along with “roasting on an open fire“? The jury is still out for me when used plain, but what I do know is they combine well with everything from mushrooms to chocolate.
There are many varieties grown all around the world and each area has its own associations. Japanese symbolism of the chestnut suggests difficulties and the ability to overcome them. Chestnuts are also eaten on New Year’s Day to bring in a successful year through strength. Chastity is the connection in early Christian folklore while in the ancient world, chestnuts were eaten to encourage fertility and women used them as a charm when wishing to conceive. Keeping chestnuts around the house keeps away spiders and eating them (the chestnuts not the spiders) is said to encourage abundance. Love and mental acumen are also traits connected to chestnuts.
They are a wintertime nut, possibly due to all that roasting, so many Yule and Christmas dishes contain a few although Scott Cunningham mentioned that Europeans would also leave chestnuts on the Samhain dinner table for the souls of the departed.
You can think of this as Nutella with chestnuts or a “love”ly addition to an evening mocha. Drizzle over ice cream or add to hot chocolate for the kids. With Yule and Christmas around the corner, this will also make a tasty homemade gift for someone with a sweet tooth.
You will need:
5 oz. or thereabouts chestnuts, roasted and pureed
2 Tbsp. cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla paste (extract will work too)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, unwhipped
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup dark/semi sweet chocolate. chips, discs or chopped
Let’s start with the puree. I had a large can that I intended to play with. If you are starting with fresh chestnuts, they will need to be roasted, peeled and pureed before being ready to use. It is also possible at this time of the year to find peeled and prepackaged chestnuts in Italian grocery stores.
I used cinnamon this time as I like the connection to Mexican chocolate flavouring but it is possible to not add any spice (something at odds with the idea of adding heat to winter solstice foods) or to substitute, nutmeg, allspice, cardamon, cloves, mace or a speculaas or five spice mixture. Cinnamon works well, especially for children as it is commonly found and is not too hot but if it is grownup time, something with a little more kick can be fun too.
Heat to a simmer. Adjust temperature to maintain the simmer without burning the cream for about 10 minutes then take off the heat.
The chocolate can be added to the cream and stirred until melted and combined with the cream and puree.
The chocolate can also be melted separately and poured into the hot mixture, then mixed with an immersion blender until well combined.
Pour into an airtight jar or other container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks or seal properly and keep for winter gift giving.
Spread straight from the fridge on hot toasted bagels or croissants. Add a tablespoon or more to hot coffee, top with whipped cream sprinkle with extra cinnamon; cuddle up with that special someone. Chestnut chocolate filled eclairs anyone?
You will likely run out of chestnut chocolate cream before running out of ideas.
Chestnut Chocolate Cream from My Kitchen Wand