Despite being dead tired from work and commute on Christmas Eve, I was still determined to make some simple desserts for our family gathering this year. And naturally, this included my all time favorite treat, Mt. Blanc. I usually use candied chestnuts as part of the filling (and when I’m not feeling lazy, a small sponge cake insert), but this time I decided to attempt a Japanese candied version of it that leaves the skin intact called 渋皮煮 (shibukawani) after seeing countless beautiful pictures of chestnut themed desserts on Instagram. I was a bit hesitant about eating the skin since I imagined it to be tough, but the result came out beautifully, soft and chewy that resembled the rest of the chestnut texture. The recipe takes a bit of work and some time, so I recommend prepping the chestnuts the day before.
150g Unsalted Butter
100g Powdered Sugar
30g Almond Flour
250g All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Vanilla Paste
200g whipping cream
200g chestnut paste (sweetened)
160g chestnut puree
1 teaspoons rum (you can add more if you like)
40ml whipping cream
30ml whole milk
Some Melted Chocolate
Japanese Candied chestnuts (渋皮煮）
3 teaspoons baking soda
You can find the instructions for the tart dough and chestnut cream on these two previous posts.
Whip the cream and sugar together until 80% stiff. The quantity is adjustable and really depends on how much cream you want in the tart, but remember that the cream:sugar ratio is always 10:1. For those who want something less sweet to balance out the chestnut cream, you can add less sugar.
Japanese Candied Chestnuts
- Lightly rinse all your chestnuts and then soak in warm water for 30min.
- With a knife, carefully remove the outer skin. Leave the fibrous skin inside intact. Put them back in the water again and let it soak for another 30 min to an hour.
- Boil the chestnuts with a pot of fresh water and 1 tsp of baking soda. Heat on high until it boils, and then turn to low heat and allow to simmer for 20 min. The water will turn a reddish black.
- After you finish boiling, strain the chestnuts on a colander. Rub and rinse the chestnuts under running water. Some of the fibers should fall off as you rub.
- Repeat steps 3&4 for two more times. Be sure to wash carefully in the final rinse as you do not want a baking soda taste to linger. Peel off any remaining fibers with a knife (but keep the inner skin intact!)
- Cook the chestnuts with sugar and just enough water to cover the chestnuts. You should allow it to simmer on low heat for 30 min. Let the chestnuts stand in the syrup until cool. You can also leave it overnight if you wish.
- Brush the tart shells with melted chocolate and let it set and harden.
- Add some chopped Japanese candied chestnuts inside the shell.
- Pipe a column of chantilly cream inside each tart, and then pipe the chestnut cream on the outside.
- Garnish with halves of candied chestnuts and let set in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
I hope all of you had a wonderful time with your family today! Merry Christmas, and for those who don’t celebrate it, happy holidays!