Make Elegant, Traditional Marrons Glacés at Home
Marrons glacés or candied chestnuts, are often purchased but they can be easily made at home with great success, as long as you follow the directions carefully. The process does unfold over a few days, so plan accordingly. Katie Caldesi has written an extraordinary book on preserving (read our review) which covers everything from drying to salting and, of particular interest to me, conserving with sugar. The book is a treasure trove of information and will be used in our Test Kitchen as a great resource for years to come. Try her Fruit Leathers and Low-Sugar Jam as well.
Excerpted with permission from The Gentle Art of PreservingBy Katie Caldesi. Kyle Books, 2014. Photography by Chris Terry
I love to eat these in France or Italy, but wanted to make my own variety with homegrown chestnuts. Our local variety is smaller than the bulging French ones, but nonetheless sweet and tender.
- 1lb chestnuts
- 1 1⁄8 cups superfine sugar
- ½ cup water
- ¾ cup liquid glucose
- 1 vanilla pod, cut into 1in pieces
- 3 tablespoons brandy
- Pierce each chestnut through the tough brown skin in about four places and put into a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the chestnuts one by one and peel off the outer shell and inner skins. Try to do this quickly as possible because they are easier to peel when they have been in the hot water for 5 minutes only. Don’t be tempted to remove them all and let them cool or the skin will become like glue and it will be harder to remove.
- Put the sugar, water, glucose, and vanilla into a saucepan and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Add the chestnuts to the pan and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to stand for 24 hours.
- The next day, return the pan to the heat and simmer the chestnuts for 2–3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool overnight. On the third day, repeat the process, simmering the chestnuts again for 2–3 minutes in the syrup.
- Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the brandy and decant the syrup and chestnuts into warm, sterilized jars.
- Store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.