Chestnut ice cream

Chestnuts are one of my favorite things.  I've loved it since I was a child so desserts involving chestnuts always have my attention.  I guess it was just luck that I was looking through A Kitchen in France by Mimi Thorisson and spied her recipe for chestnut ice cream.  
Creamy chestnut ice cream, garnished with a few chopped roasted chestnuts
Looks like Ms. Thorisson and I share a mutual love of chestnut cream and chestnut desserts.  I am thankful for that because now I have this wonderful ice cream to add to my repertoire - especially since chestnut ice cream isn't exactly easy to find.  In fact, I can only remember scoring chestnut gelato once while traveling.

This chestnut ice cream is chock full of chestnut flavor and really easy to make - the "secret" or express route to all the chestnut flavor is using chestnut cream (or crème de marrons), which is a sweetened chestnut spread.
Chestnut cream and vanilla bean to flavor the custard base
Adding a generous amount of the chestnut cream to the custard base makes for deep sweet chestnut flavor and a beautiful creaminess to the ice cream.  Its texture and full-flavor does makes me think gelato and I suppose the lines are blurred when making ice cream at home.  I think I can just assure you that this will be a hit with any chestnut lovers. 
The great thing about this ice cream is it's obviously great for the warm, summer months but it'd also be good for the Fall (maybe even as an unexpected dessert after Thanksgiving) when we tend to think of and see chestnuts here in the States. 

I garnished the ice cream with a few chopped chestnuts - just the packaged kind I buy and snack on all the time.  It's not absolutely necessary since you'll clearly taste the chestnut flavor in the ice cream itself.  It's like eating marron glace, or candied chestnut, in ice cream form.  
I once had a very memorable gelato combination of chocolate, chestnut, and gianduja while vacationing in Quebec, Canada.  That's just about my ideal pairing. Now, I just need to work on the gianduja, or chocolate-hazelnut, flavor and I'd actually be able to recreate that trifecta at home. Although admittedly, making 3 ice cream flavors at once is an aggressive (unrealistic) project, it's good to know I could make it happen...

The ice cream base is made with an equal mix (1 cup each) of heavy cream and whole milk, along with 3 egg yolks and half a vanilla bean for extra flavor.  There is just 1/4 cup of sugar in the recipe because the 12 ounces, or 1 1/3 cups, of chestnut cream adds a lot of sweetness.
One the custard base is prepared, you let it cool before stirring in the chestnut cream. It turns into this beautifully light chestnut-brown concoction that I chill overnight before churning.
I find that while you want to enjoy your homemade ice cream as soon as possible, it's good to give it an overnight "rest" in the freezer before eating.  Somehow, it seems like the flavor gets a chance to develop so that is tastes less like cream and more intensely of the flavor you made.
In this case, the result is creamy ice cream that's packed with sweet chestnut flavor. If chestnut cream was more readily available, and less expensive, I'd be making this very often!  In the meantime, it feels like a very special treat.  I savored it.  It's one of those ice creams where a small scoop feels very satisfying to me.

For more chestnut love, here are some other recipes:

Recipe:

Chestnut Ice Cream
From A Kitchen in France by Mimi Thorisson

- Makes approximately 1 quart - 

1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
12 ounces (320g, about 1 1/3 cups) sweetened vanilla chestnut cream

Place cream and milk in a medium saucepan.  Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and add seeds and the pod to the pan.  Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a low boil.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until smooth and light in color.

Take saucepan off the heat and, whisking constantly, pour about one-third of the hot liquid into the egg mixture.  Pour/scrape the yolk mixture into the saucepan, return it to the heat, and cook, whisking constantly, until custard thickens slightly, 5-8 minutes; do not boil.  Strain the mixture into a large bowl; discard the vanilla bean. Let cool.

Mix the chestnut cream into the cooled custard.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, preferably overnight.

Freeze the mixture in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 3 hours (I prefer overnight) before serving.





36 comments:

  1. wow that looks really really CREAMY!! Great job, Monica.

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    1. Thanks, Angie. It's so easy - that creaminess really comes from that sweet chestnut cream. : )

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  2. I haven't eaten many chestnut-flavored things and now I really feel I'm missing out! Memorial Day weekend seems like the perfect time to experiment with some chestnut ice cream, I think. :P

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    1. I know not that many people are as crazy about it as I am but boy am I happy to have this ice cream recipe in my back pocket! Have a great Memorial Day weekend coming up - I know you'll cook up and eat some crazy delicious things.

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  3. Monica - I love chestnuts too, but I had no idea there was a chestnut cream! I need to look for that at my grocery store though, because I love chestnuts! I'm so pinning this!

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    1. You'd likely need to order the chestnut cream online. I was lucky enough to stumble on some in Brooklyn a few months back, at a small Italian grocery but no where else (even Eataly doesn't have it). In France, it's like peanut butter and everywhere. Oh well...maybe that will change one day.

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  4. I love the Manger blog - she is so talented and living the dream. You made an absolutely gorgeous ice cream. The texture and color is perfect. I love chestnuts too and have never heard of chestnut ice cream so I know this will be a big hit with fans everywhere! Love the photos - gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks, Tricia. I was just looking through the book yesterday...it is pretty incredible and more power to her! The ice cream is fantastic - loads of sweet chestnut flavor for a hardcore fan like me.

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  5. Ice cream of any kind of is my favorite treat and I LOVE that you made a chestnut version. I've never seen that flavor before except maybe in Europe and yours looks so so creamy and delicious! I wish I had a giant bowl right now!

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    1. I am always on the hunt for chestnut gelato (or macarons) when I'm out and about. It is rare. Now I can have some of this at home...I just need that chocolate and hazelnut alongside! : )

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  6. Such a unique ice cream recipe for ice cream season! I love trying a new sweet recipe so can't wait to scoop this up!

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    1. It's ice cream, right?! Bound to be pretty good! : )

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  7. Wow Monica, this is such an interesting ice cream...and it sure looks delicious, creamy, rich...great recipe!
    Hope you are having a great week :)

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    1. All that chestnut cream makes it creamy and sweet. Thanks, Juliana.

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  8. I just started to learn to appreciate chestnut, and this is would be a nice flavour to try this summer!

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    1. I love chestnuts and everything that is like it in texture and flavor. I wish I could have it more often in different ways...need to get cooking!

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  9. The ice cream looks out of the world. I have never tasted chestnut ice cream but I have no doubt how delicious the flavour is going to be. The photos are making my mouth water!

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    1. I had it once in Quebec and I'm always on the lookout when I'm at a gelateria. It's a lovely change from the usual though nothing wrong with classic vanilla-chocolate-strawberry! : )

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  10. I think I say this every single time but I always love your posts with chestnut! This ice cream looks absolutely amazing - how different too! And you're are so right - I think this would be amazing for thanksgiving!

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    1. I'll never get tired of reading that, Ashley...so please go on! ; ) I totally want to have this for Thanksgiving dessert...picture a little scoop with a small slice of pie or something...

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  11. My mother always ate chestnuts when we were little. . so chestnuts immediately remind me of my mother .. love this ice cream! It's gorgeous and I can only imagine the great flavor! thank you so much for the visit today! i love your blog!

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    1. I am so glad I caught your lovely post today, Alice. Thank you for swinging by. And from what I can tell from my initial visit, something reminding you of your mom is a good thing so yay! : ) Thanks again.

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  12. ugghhhhh CHESTNUTS! i love that you love them, because i love them, and for whatever reason, i just don't know a ton of people who feel this way about them - it's sad, truly. I love the idea of a chestnut ice cream - i don't know that i've ever seen one, but i'd love to try it.

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    1. Yes - love chestnuts and I have it all the time. I tend to love lots of heavier/carb like foods that are a bit sweet! So chestnuts falls in my 'easy to love' bucket. I do not like water chestnuts though (totally random)... : )

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  13. LOVE IT!!! I am not a huge fan of nuts, but chestnut is the exception. This ice cream looks super creamy! Creamy chestnut ice cream, I would love to dig in now!

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    1. Glad to hear it. I actually love nuts and chunks of things in my ice cream but there are times when a simple creamy ice cream, full of a flavor you love, is all you need. Have a good Memorial Day weekend!

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  14. I'm definitely making this in Winter! It's one of my favourite ice cream flavours and it looks so easy to make! :D

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    1. Yay - definitely easy with a big payoff. I know you like chestnuts so you're bound to like this, Lorraine. : )

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  15. Just gorgeous Monica! It looks so creamy and dreamy and love chestnut flavors. You most certainly could make all 3 of your favorite icecreams in one session, your a pro. I do not have an icecream churner but looking at your photos is making me thing twice about that.

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    1. No "pro" here, BAM, and I'm not being modest! : ) Thanks for the vote of confidence though. I'm off to make ONE ice cream flavor for our Memorial Day weekend here. That is good enough for me. And I know the feeling about buying another apparatus; the ice cream maker was a good decision though.

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  16. Occasionally I see a chestnut-flavoured dessert in a restaurant, but I don't think I've ever tried one. Yours looks so beautiful! I'm really tempted ....

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    1. I love a good mont blanc when I can get one, Beth. Other than that, chestnut pastries are so rare. I can make a few simple things like this to satisfy my chestnut craving though. : )

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  17. Wow it looks so delicious, Monica! From the pictures, the texture looks very much like gelato...oh how I miss Italian/European style ice cream! Now that you've recreated chestnut ice cream, you can make it all the time this summer!! I really need to invest in an ice cream machine (:

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    1. Yes, I'm really tempted to just call this gelato. The texture and fact that the flavor is so prominent definitely makes me think gelato. It's also got a lower cream to milk ratio than most ice cream recipes. That said, it's just good stuff! : )

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  18. Unique flavor Monica. I've never had chestnut spread, how interesting. I'm gonna go find it this weekend. The ice cream is so smooth and flavorful. I haven't had a chestnut in years, wonder how I forgot about it.
    I was thinking of some ice cream, will try this one out. I don't own a ice cream machine though, I better go get one soon.
    Fantastic job on this ice cream. xx

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    1. Thanks! Glad you like it. It was so easy to make and a big return in flavor. Only issue is getting your hands on that chestnut cream. I've had to order it online. Have a great weekend!

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