Chestnut Paste

by Eddy Van Damme on December 15, 2009

Chestnut paste

Chestnut paste

During the fall and winter months it is very easy to get fresh chestnuts in the stores. Chestnuts are absolutely delicious when roasted, candied or puréed into a paste. Chestnut paste can be used in countless ways and is easily prepared at home or in a professional setting. In well-stocked markets, canned chestnut paste is available but oftentimes tends to be overly sweet, making it useless for many preparations. Therefore, I like to make my own chestnut paste.

peeling chestnuts

Chestnut paste is delicious on gelato, sandwiched between thin cookies or used in chocolates as a filling. The paste looks amazing when passed thru a garlic press, gently shaped into a sphere and placed on a tempered chocolate square. If you do not like to fuss with making your own chocolate squares, you can purchase premade chocolate cups.

boiling chestnuts

Getting it all together!

Purchase even-sized chestnuts with shiny dark skins. I like to get at least about 2 lb 8 oz (1140g). Smaller amounts always make it harder to get the chestnuts pureed smoothly in a food processor. Any extra chestnut paste can be easily frozen and used at a later time. When peeling the chestnuts, it helps to have latex or vinyl gloves to protect your hands from the fresh boiled chestnuts.

Cold chestnut puree is delicious and makes beautiful petit fours. The paste can be used as it is or mixed with a small amount of butter cream. If desired the paste can slightly be conditioned using simple syrup. A small amount of chestnut liquor can be added. Press the paste thru a garlic press and shape onto a chocolate square or Gerbet macaroon. Decorate as desired.

ground chestnuts

chestnuts and boiled sugar

chestnut puree

Chestnut paste

6 Cups (2 lb 8 oz) Chestnuts 1140 g
2 Cups (1 lb) Extra fine granulated sugar 480 g
1 Cup (8 oz) Water 240 g
2 teaspoon (2 tsp) Vanilla bean paste or vanilla 10 g
  1. Using a knife, cut a X into the flat side of the chestnuts. It is best to boil the chestnuts in smaller batches as they will peel much better when being removed fresh out of hot water.
  2. Place part of the chestnuts in a non-reactive pot and cover the nuts completely in water.  Bring to a boil
  3. Boil for 7-8 minutes and remove using a slotted spoon. Peel away the outer skin and any brown skin on the chestnuts. Repeat until all the nuts are peeled.
  4. Place the peeled chestnuts in fresh water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 15 minutes. The chestnuts should feel “al dente” at this stage.
  5. Drain and place the chestnuts in a food processor.
  6. Place the sugar in a small saucepan and add 1 cup (8 oz or 240 gram) of water; stir to a boil. Once boiling brush away any sugar crystals stuck to the side of the pan with a clean brush dipped in water. Any additional water added during this process has no effect on the final outcome.
  7. Cook the sugar syrup WITHOUT stirring to 240°F (116°C). Remove from heat and mix in the chestnut mixture. Stir for 5 minutes on medium heat.  Add the vanilla and combine well.
  8. Store in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer.

chestnut paste

23 comments on “Chestnut Paste

  1. Diana Wallace on said:

    This is amazing, and tastes fabulous! Wonderful for holiday desserts and chocolates!

  2. I love chestnut paste. So happy I found this site.

  3. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I always use chestnuts during the winter for soups but this sounds a lot better.

  4. I have made many of your recipes and they are all delicious. You already know what I will be making this weekend. Thank you for posting this recipe chef Eddy.

  5. I can not wait to make this chestnut paste. It looks stunning and delicious.
    Felipe.

  6. thanks for sharing. been looking for simple chestnut paste recipe. But what if it’s roasted chestnut? Do I just peel them, blend and continue from step 6 ?

  7. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Swee,

    If the chestnuts are roasted they may be a bit more dry and making it harder to obtain a fine grind. You also may need more sugar syrup.
    All the best! Eddy.

  8. Chestnut paste is something I always wanted to make and I am so happy I made this recipe. It is delicious! I piped it on baked shortbread and I cannot wait to serve to my guests this afternoon.
    Thank you for all the great recipes.
    Maggie R.

  9. Love this chestnut paste, how long can I keep it in the freezer?
    Manuel.

  10. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Manuel,
    It freezes great.
    Eddy

  11. This looks like exactly the kind of chestnut paste need for making Mont Blancs! Thanks for this recipe 😀

  12. Hello Chef Eddy,

    I just love the Chestnut paste formula and hope you will do a Demo.

    Your student Carol

  13. michael on said:

    Great recipe Sweets Meister ,
    is it wise to boil chestnuts along with bay leaf?
    Michael

  14. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Michael,
    I do not know….

  15. Thanks for the recipe–turned out perfect! A few guides along the way for the talented but amateur cook would have been appreciated. How long does the syrup take to reach temperature? What are the processed chestnuts supposed to look like when they’ve been sufficiently processed? Gravel? Powder? (And it takes a long time to grind all those chestnuts down–a good 10 minutes, with a lot of stirring down in the bowl along the way. That warning would have been useful.)

    I know professional cooks are not professional writers, but one would think they’d have read enough cookbooks to know how it’s done. Whatever….thanks again for the only chestnut paste recipe on the Internet!

  16. I’d love to make my own chestnut past starting with dried chestnuts, but I’m not sure how much liquid to use when reconstituting the dried chestnuts. I know that the dried ones are sweeter than the ones you find in a jar, or fresh ones, so I would also love some guidance as to the proportion of sugar to use.

    Can you help? Thanks!

  17. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Sue, I’m not sure you will be successful using dried chestnuts…Can you not find paste in the store or on the net?

  18. I actually ended up using whole chestnuts in a jar, cream, vanilla and sugar in the food processor, and it turned out well. I just was hoping to figure out how to use the dry chestnuts. I’ll try at some point and let you know.

  19. ralph june 14 , 2011 9pm on said:

    i chef, my question is wat would be the perfect chestnut paste .wen i look at this product in jars and tins its nothing like wat i taste in a natural boiled chestnut .
    my reason for asking you this is not for a receipe . i am a chestnut grower in the corse of producing chestnut paste ,but i dont want make a similar product thats on the market now .so i am seeking you advice .
    cheers Ralph M .

  20. Chestnut is one of my family’s favorite flavors of desserts and foods. I can also incorporate this into Chinese desserts too, like it can be a filling for sweet bun! Thanks Chef!

  21. Nicholas Pringle on said:

    This is a different concept that I have never knew about. A paste…I am curious to see how it will turn out. Thanks for the recipe.

  22. Rina Kamkhagi on said:

    I have a recipe for a chocolate filling that calls for chestnut paste. I have a can of chestnut cream (creme de marrons) from France( Sabaton). Can I use it? Is it the same thing? I cannot find fresh chestnut now! They are not in season…

  23. Rina Kamkhagi on said:

    It is actually a chestnut spread… Thanks so much! Rina.

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