Easy Marron Glace (Candied Chestnuts)

Easy marron glace sounds like an oxymoron. The traditional method calls for soaking, peeling, heating, cooling, reheating, etc; a 4~7 days ordeal. This is a shortcut version that will get you pretty close to the end result in 2 hours (out of which, maybe 5 minutes of active time).

These make great wallet-friendly holiday gifts. Even for those that have the fortune of living nearby an Italian market, marron glaces are not cheap; neither are fresh chestnuts. Frozen chestnuts are inexpensive (and much more convenient!) alternatives.

By using frozen, you can skip all the soaking and peeling prepping steps and go directly to candying. These chestnuts won't be as super-saturated as those from the traditional method, but frozen chestnuts have the advantage of not breaking as easily, which makes them good for long simmering. Cooking chestnuts for extended time in one sitting will produce a finished product that is similar in texture to the traditional ones: silky, translucent, melting soft. It will not be as sugary, but putting aside the purity test, it has absorbed plenty syrup even for taste tester with a sweet tooth.

Equal part (by weight) chestnut, water, sugar. In my case,
420g chestnut (1 bag frozen chestnut)
420g water
420g sugar

Combine sugar & water and bring to a boil. Add chestnut to the syrup and steep for 90 minutes, or until chestnuts are golden and transparent under light.
Dry on parchment paper, in oven, for 30 minutes at 200F. Box some up and nibble on the rest!

Utilize all the by-product! The broken pieces (if any) are great on oatmeal & ice cream, or folded in mont blanc cake or tarts. Save the drained chestnut syrup for coffee or hot chocolate, or use it in place of simple syrup for dessert recipe to give it a holiday twist!

YouTube video for the steps:

Happy holidays & Enjoy!