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Gesztenye Pure (chestnut Puree)

  • 1 1/2 pound chestnuts
  • milk as needed
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • rum to taste
  • 1 pint whipping cream for topping

Put chestnuts in a large saucepan and cover with water. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove outer and inner peel from chestnuts. Take only a few out of the water at a time as they are easier to peel when warm. I actually cut the nuts in half and scoop out the meat with a nut pick. Put the chestnut meat into a saucepan, cover with milk and simmer until the chestnut meat is soft enough to easily mash and the milk is absorbed. Press the chestnuts through a sieve (though you might also try a food processor). Boil the sugar and water to make a thick syrup (don't brown). Immedieately add to the chestnuts and cool. Add only enough liquid so that the chestnuts can be put through a potato ricer and still hold their shape. Add the vanilla and rum. My favorite rum for this purpose is somewhat hard to find, and not available everywhere. It is called "Stroh" and it is from Austria. Technically, it is a "tea rum" and it is *amazing*! Incredible butterscotch-like aroma and flavor. Put the chilled mixture through the potato ricer, making a small mound in the center of individual dessert plates. Top with the whipped cream. I sweeten my whipped cream slightly and add a bit of vanilla too. You should balance the sweetness of the whipped cream to act as a counterpoint to the chestnut puree (i.e. sweeter puree = less sweet whipped cream, less sweet puree = sweeter whipped cream). The lightness of the whipped cream will also cut the incredible richness of the puree.

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