Just in case you have some chestnuts…

As a child the only chestnuts I ever came across were those which were roasted, either at home on the edge of the grate, or from the chestnut seller in town who had a little brazier with glowing coals and chestnuts sold in paper bags. They were soft and sweet and delicious – not like the tasteless, unripe, rock hard offerings from chestnut sellers today. Later on, when I went to France I came across delicious marrons glacés… However, I never came across chestnuts in any other form.

Recently, looking through my old 1920’s cookery book I came across chestnut mould, so at one time English cuisine must have used them in other ways than just roasting. Looking in the index there are other recipes:

  • chestnut fingers
  • chestnut gateau
  • chestnut pudding
  • chestnut purée
  • chestnut savoury
  • chestnut soup
  • chestnut stuffing… oh yes, I forgot about chestnut stuffing!

Chestnut mould

  • ¾ chestnuts, shelled and skinned
  • 1 pint packet lemon jelly
  • 1 oz pistachios
  • 1 pint milk
  • vanilla essence
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3-4 dsp castor sugar
  • 1 gill cream
  • ½ oz gelatin
  1. dissolve the jelly in ¾ pint hot water, and pour a small amount into the bottom of the mould
  2. heat the milk and gently cook the chestnuts until very soft (probably about 1 hour)
  3. rub the chestnuts through a sieve, or in a blender
  4. add 1½ gills of the cooled cooking milk to the egg, beat and strain
  5. place milk and egg in a bain marie and cook over hot water until the custard thicken
  6. mix the custard, puréed chestnuts, vanilla, sugar to taste and beat until thick
  7. add the pistachios and cream
  8. dissolve the gelatin in ½ gill warm water and stir into cream
  9. pour into the mould and leave to set
  10. turn out onto a serving dish, decorate around with chopped lemon jelly

1 gill = ¼ pint

By the way, my featured image is of horse chestnuts, not sweet chestnuts.

 

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