For the original recipe we use a particular variety of chestnuts, the so-called marroni that are first syrupy-ed and then glazed … in short, to get the homemade glazed chestnuts known all over the world as marron glacé, you will have to work a little.
The origins of the marron glacé as we know them today, date back to the sixteenth century, The problem is that both the city of Cuneo and Lyon, contend the title! As it often happens between Italian and French, especially in the kitchen.
The first documents referring to the glazed chestnuts (therefore to the marron glacé as we know them today) date back to the sixteenth century and were attributed to an Italian chef who worked for Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy (1580), the same recipe was then also documented by a chef of the Court of Versailles of Louis XIV, but we were in 1643.
In Italy, however, they are universally recognized as Marron Glacé rather than “Marroni Glassati“, because the name in French is oh, so chic! In the end they are browned in syrup and then glazed, whether you call them Maron or Marroni!
Marron glacé, are relatively easy to find in the best pastries shops and also in ‘delicatessen shops‘ where they are sold in boxes very similar to a chocolate box. They will only be available from mid-October to perhaps mid-January.
Is it possible to make marron glacé at home? Yes, with a lot of patience.
But first; What is the difference between chestnuts and marroni (or sweet chestnuts)?
Marroni are not just bigger chestnuts. The fruits are different from the common chestnuts, and they distinguished in characteristics and taste.
The diversity are related to the shape, the color and especially to the taste. But also the plant itself: the chestnut is the fruit of a wild plant, the marroni comes from grown plants and improves through the grafts, or hybridization.
To make them at home it is not particularly difficult, as I said it takes patience, but the final results is delightful!
This is what you will need:
- 500 gr of caster sugar
- 1 vanilla stick
- 1 kg of large marrons
Phase 1: peel marons
The recipe begins with a “scalding” marrons while practicing a little cut on the flat side (the incision should not affect the pulp). The marrons should be left in boiling water for 2 minutes, the time to make them easier to peel. Then peeled while still hot, so they should be done a few at a time. This is when your patience is put to test because it is not easy to remove the little “skin” in between the crevices. It is a delicate work.
Phase 2: cook the marrons
The peeled marrons should be placed in a saucepan, covered with cold water. From when it starts to boil, simmer for 12 minutes. Drain the chestnuts and let them dry.
Step 3: prepare the syrup
This is easy, you just have to add 500 grams of granulated sugar to 300ml of water and a vanilla stick. Simmer for 5 minutes without stirring.
Then add the marrons very gently – if you do not have patience it will be difficult not to break them. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid, and let it rest for 24 hours.
Phase 4: stabilize the glazed marrons
The next day, boil the syrup containing the chestnuts again (in both cases you should continue on very low heat), then switch off and let it rest for another 24 hours.
On the third day, repeat the process again and wait an additional 24 hours.
Step 5: the marron glacé are ready
After the last 24 hours, all you have to do is drain the marron glacé one by one, placing them on a grid to make them dry. You can also dry them in the oven, provided you leave the oven door ajar, for about 3 – 4 hours!
How to keep homemade marron glacé
The marron glacé prepared in this way can be kept in the refrigerator for two or three weeks.