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Spread the Holiday Fun with Crème de marrons!

My poor non-French people,

The holidays are here, and you are already kind of depressed because you don’t know what to buy to whom (plus, you don’t have the money for it!) and you’re not really sure you’ll have a great time at your Grand Aunts’s boring Xmas dinner (nor at your office alcohol free and desperate coworkers Holiday party). Don’t! Rejoice! French and parfait is here to cheer you up with the French and perfect comfort food de Noël: crème de marrons.

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I’m always shocked at the poor American girls who are  engulfing tons of fatty sugary bowls of ice cream when they are dumped or just sad. Do people actually do that or is it just something  screenwriters in Hollywood are forced to write by some kind of “icecream, corn syrup and weird artifical colourings by the bucket” lobby?

I’m sorry to say that none of my French and perfect friends would ever do that. No binge eating when you’re sad! Maybe a few bottles of good wine. One or two tablettes de chocolat… And surely, some tablespoons of crème de marrons.

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This sweet chestnust spread is symbolic for me of winter.
Chestnusts always are…
I knew that fall was over when I was a kid because we would go pick the last marrons in the woods near my grand mother’s goddaughter’s farm. My father would roast them in the family chimney, and we would sit in front of the fire, cracking the chestnuts open and loving the winter sunday.
In Paris, the smell of chestnust roastings on DIY roasters put on shopping carts is part of the whole window gazing in the Grands magasins experience.
And there’s no Christmas day for me without the marrons glacés, that my mom never fail to give me pour Noël.

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To tell you the truth, I was actually thinking of trying to make my own marrons glacés this year, but then I read some recipes and I decided that three days of cooking would not be reasonable for the new working mom that I am. I can’t spent hours in the kitchen now, and have to try and be the most efficient I can…

I wanted a French guilty pleasure, with chestnusts, a recomforting and easy recipe??? Simple comme bonjour ! Easy as saying good morning (even if this particular thing, saying good morning, is apparently something like torture for lots of Parisians….) I had to make crème de marrons.

 

 Crème de marrons, Chestnusts spread

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1 pound chestnuts, peeled (about 2 pounds unpeeled)
1 vanilla bean
1/2 pound sugar
2 cups water

Crème de marrons is a necessity in any French and perfect pantry. Most of the time, it’s something that you buy in cans, just as they were first sold.
This delicious spread was actually first invented by a manufacturer, Clement Faugier  who was trying to find a way to use the leftovers of candied chestnuts, marrons glacés, that he could not sell. His factory was in Ardèche, where most of the chestnut trees are in France, and he came up with the idea of this simple but delicious recipe.
The original one included bits of marrons glacés in it.

creme de marrons faugier buvard          “Ask your mom to buy some!” In the 50’s, the inventor of crème de marrons promoted it on blotting paper used by pupils!

To this day, the Clement Faugier factories still sell tons of creme de marrons in France and around the world. You can find it sometimes in the US, but it’s quite expensive, so why not do it youself!

Crème de marrons can be used like a jam, spreading it on a toast for breakfast for example, but I like it best with fromage blanc, or in a plain  yogurt. It’s also great on a crèpe, with some CHantilly for example, and is one of the main ingredient of a legendary parisian dessert, le Montblanc d’Angelina: meringue, whipped cream, and crème de marrons in a delicious “bombe“, perfect for a cold sunday afternoon of depressing Christmas Shopping…

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  • Boil the chestnuts in a large saucepan filled with water, for 20 minutes. Then drain them and keep 2 cups of the water.
  • Pour the chestnuts into a blender, and process until smooth
  • In another saucepan, pour the water from the chestnuts, add the sugar, the vanilla pod sliced in half lengthwise, bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the chestnuts to the saucepan, stir well, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes
  • When the mixture sticks to your wooden spoon, stop the heat, and pour it in jars.
You can eat it at least 2 hours after making it, and can store it in the fridge for 1 year.

Bon appétit les amis!

 

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1 Comment On This Topic
  1. Beth Roy posted
    April 15, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Fab recipe, thanks very much. I am still laughing at the part where you say it lasts in the fridge up to a year! It is so amazing I was testing it in the pot whole cooking it. I used brown rice syrup instead of sugar and worked like a charm. Beautiful!


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