Chesnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping at your nose…
We’ve all heard the song, but have you ever actually tried roasting chestnuts on an open fire?
This year, we felt inspired to turn this beloved carol into a festive reality… Sort of. Rather than over an open fire, we’ve roasted chestnuts at home in our kitchen, and it’s every bit as magical as you’d hope!
Roasted Chestnuts with spiced maple butter
What you’ll need:
2 lbs fresh chestnuts
Water to soak chestnuts
½ cup salted butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground cloves
Coarse sea salt to finish
Rinse : In a sieve or colander wash the chestnuts under cold water.
Score : Place flat side of the chestnuts on the cutting board and with a sharp paring knife make an ‘X’ shaped cut on the top (round side) of the chestnut. This step will ensure the chestnuts will not explode from the internal pressure while roasting and will make the peeling easier once roasted.
Soak : Transfer scored chestnuts to a large bowl and cover with cold water for soaking. While some recipes call for soaking your chestnuts for as little as an hour we opted to soak them overnight to ensure working with plump, hydrated nuts. *If soaking overnight is not an option you can boil the scored chestnuts for approximately 15-20 minutes (this step will also help reduce your roasting time).
Roast : Preheat oven to 400º. Place chestnuts on a baking rack or baking sheet with the ‘X’ cut side up and transfer to oven. Roast until the peel begins to curl up and the skins have pulled backs bit from the cuts. Depending on whether you soaked or boiled your nuts the roasting time will vary so it is important to keep an eye on the chestnuts while they roast. This may take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.
Crack : When ready remove chestnuts from the oven and pile them in a large, clean tea towel. Wrap them up and squeeze until you hear the nuts crack. Let them sit for a few minutes. This will help soften the shell for easier peeling. *Discard any chestnuts that are dark brown or black on the inside. Ideally the flesh should be a light tan or golden colour.
Spiced Maple Butter
While the chestnuts rest in the tea towel make the spiced maple butter. Melt butter in a large pan and add maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Whisk together the ingredients. Transfer chestnuts (with peel) to the pan and generously coat the nuts with the spiced butter mixture. * We opted to keep the peel on the chestnuts for a more rustic feel but if you’d like the process to be a little less messy for your guests you can pre-peel the chestnuts before mixing in with the spiced maple butter.
Transfer chestnuts to a serving dish, pour remaining spiced butter over the nuts and sprinkle with a pinch of coarse salt to finish. Serve warm. To eat, remove peel and skin with fingers and dip chestnut in the spiced maple butter. So delicious and festive!
We hope you enjoy bringing this holiday classic to life in your own kitchens this season – trust us, the scent of this recipe alone will be well worth it. Be sure to tag us in any photos and let us know how it goes!
Helpful tools for the task: