chestnuts (visiting the city and making stuff)

October 10, 2009

Yesterday I made the 8 hr drive to Ann Arbor to visit the youngest Witherspoon. When we were in Italy a few years ago we learned how to make Monte Bianco, a chestnut dessert that was the favorite of one of our friends there. We have made Monte Bianco since then using our friends recipe, but this year we decided to try a new recipe from The Chestnut Cookbook by Annie Bhagwandin.Chestnutscolander

One of the best things that we have discovered about chestnuts this season is how to peel them really easily. A few weeks ago when I made chestnut ravioli Brenda and I boiled the nuts for about 20 minutes. They came out of the shells quite well, but sometimes the nuts stuck, and the inner peel was difficult to remove. chestnutscutcloseThis time we boiled them whole for 5 minutes, and then chopped them in half. It was much easier to cut them with the shells softened, but the nuts were still intact, and popped right out of the shells!!cehstnutsandpeels We kept the majority of the nuts in hot water as we worked, which makes them easier to remove.chestnutsinmilk

To make Monte Bianco, parboiled chestnuts are simmered with whole milk with a snip of vanilla bean and then pureed to form a stiffish paste. chestnutsinpot

We pureed the chestnuts with the milk using a stick blender. The puree was a little thinner than we would have liked, and we think that we could have simmered the nuts a little longer.


As the chestnuts were simmering, we made a vanilla sugar syrup (a variation on our recipe) and then added it to the pureed chestnuts. The puree needs to be stiff to make the little noodles, so we left it in the fridge over night to firm up, and by the morning it was ready to go!chestnutsinmill

We put the chestnut puree through Heli’s new food mill and came up with the little “worms” that make Monte Bianco! As an aside, this is the absolute best food mill I have ever encountered. The fold out legs have rubber on them and it grips to the top of the bowl so there is no slippage at all!! Really easy to assemble and use!


We needed some cream to top our noodles, so we whipped some up in a mason jar. We thought it would take for ever, but it only took about 2 minutes of vigorous shaking!


Freshly whipped cream in the sunlight.


The finished product. Chestnut vermicelli dusted with unsweetened cocoa powder and whipped cream. A mountian with snow on the top!!helichestnuts

2 Responses to “chestnuts (visiting the city and making stuff)”

  1. Danielle Says:

    Aww you guys are so cute. We need to coordinate a trip to Ann Arbor soon!

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