Chestnut Goodness

February 6th, 2020 § 0 comments

HG is very fond of chestnuts. When living in New York, HG often ate hot, roasted chestnuts straight from the coals of various street carts. HG’s favorite dessert was served at The Gay Hussar, a now-shuttered Hungarian restaurant in London’s Soho neighborhood. The dessert was lightly sweetened, pureed chestnuts topped with a mountain of fresh whipped cream. HG would usually precede it with fish dumplings in dill sauce and duck livers with fried onions and paprika. Not a meal approved by cardiologists. HG savored The Gay Hussar as did generations of left-wing Labor politicians. HG had an attack of dessert nostalgia, prompted by a recent blog post from David Lebovitz, the Paris-based food writer and cookbook author. He was writing about creme de marrons (chestnut puree). No cream, just pulverized and pureed chestnuts with sweetness (slight) added by some bits of candied chestnuts and vanilla. This is a staple in French homes. Used on toast like jam or Nutella and In a variety of baked goods (bakeries use it in a pastry called Mont Blanc). Most often it is mixed with breakfast yogurt (supermarkets carry yogurt pre-mixed with creme de marrons.) This wonderful stuff is virtually unknown in the USA. But, intrepid HG managed to track some down. Clement Faugier is the French company that dominates creme de marrons. They sell it in tins of various sizes ranging from modest (for home use) and huge (for commercial bakeries). They also sell it in toothpaste-like tubes. Lebovitz says elegant Frenchmen and super chic Frenchwomen always carry a tube so they can have a surreptitious treat during the day. After dinner, HG has a big tablespoon covered with Reddi-Whip (too lazy to make real whipped cream). Makes a nice ending to a dinner of BSK culinary delights.

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