zaterdag 25 januari 2014

Fall - chestnuts

Another great thing about the fall is the abundance of food you can find just outside. I told you about mushrooms already and I am longing for the day I can tell you about truffle hunting. It´s one of my biggest wishes to experience that.
But, as you can´t always get what you want, this blog is about another fall product that I like. Chestnuts.

It is very comforting to light a fire on a cold fall day and roast chestnuts for dinner. You should not be afraid of a little dirt because it gets a bit messy, but it´s worth it. You carve the chestnuts with a sharp knife, roast them on the glowing ashes and put them in a wet towel. 

Leave them for a minute, peel them and enjoy the taste. The go particularly well with vino novello and a jacked potato with sage.
One of my dearest Italian friends told me that it is almost an art to know how to end your dinner. Should you have a chestnut last, or a sip of wine? Just try, and try again, and again, because you want to be very certain. I probably don´t have to tell you who got a little drunk.

Related chestnut products, like chestnut mash serve many purposes. Think about a chestnut-quiche. I use canned chestnutmash, you can prepare your own but it is a lot of work and it just never seems to get right.
Heat the oven to 180°C. For the puff pastry click here. Put the dough in a greased cakepan. To fill it: I fry a little bacon, some shallots and garlic until lightbrown. Mix it carefully with the chestnut mash. Add grated parmesan, salt and pepper. Cover the dough with it. Mix two eggs, 1 spoon of milk, salt, pepper and some more parmesan and pour it over the pie. Shake slightly to spread it well. Leave it in the oven for about 40 minutes until the eggs are colored.

You can also prepare a sweet chestnut pie. In that case, mix the chestnut mash with 1 sachet of vanilla sugar, 2 spoons of table sugar, 2 spoons of cream, and a beaten egg white. Spread it on the dough and leave it in the oven for about half an hour.

Chestnut flour has a lot of possibilities. I especcialy like castagnaccio, a Tuscan pie of chestnut flour, raisins, walnuts, rosemary, olive oil and pine nuts. You can find recipes everywhere.

My own recipe is a chestnut-chocolate pie.
150 gr. chestnut flour
30 gr. white flour
20 gr. cocoa powder (the sweet one)
200 gr. butter
175 gr. sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar
4 eggs

Heat the oven to 180°C. Grease a cakepan. Mix the chestnutflour with the white flour and the cocoa. Beat the butter with the sugar and add the eggs one by one. When it´s an equal substance, add the flour little by little and keep beating until you have a smooth, equal batter. Spread the dough in the pan and bake it for 45 minutes.

And if ater all this, you have still chestnuts left.... use them to decorate your autumn home.  

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