8 cups or more of fresh whole chestnuts.
More is better, no matter how careful you are choosing the best ones, some bad ones will slip in and will need to be discarded.
Cut chestnuts in half (top to bottom axis).
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place chestnut halves in boiling water, bring back to boil and cook about 10 minutes on high. Turn off heat but leave chestnuts in the hot water.
Scoop out a handful at a time and peel. This is the difficult part, easier with help.
Return peeled chestnuts to a large pot, top with enough milk and water mixture to more than cover them. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chestnut meat softens and you can break it with a wooden spoon. This will take at least a half hour.
Keep the mixture on a gentle simmer, do not allow to boil.
When the chestnut pieces are beginning to soften, add a bit of sugar to the mix and cook another 5 minutes or so. Turn off heat.
Strain chestnut pieces from the liquid and place in a deep bowl. Purée with an immersion blender adding as much of the liquid as you like, a little at a time, to achieve the desired consistency. Do not fret if a few pieces of chestnut are left and not everything is an even purée, it will still be tasty.
Choose a nice plate and form purée into a ring, patting down as you go. Cover and chill.
Before serving, top with a cloud of sweetened whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate powder, sprinkles or shavings.
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