Monday, October 19, 2009
An Autumn Ingredient for the Chilling Weather....the Chestnut Series!
The Nor'easter storm brought in the first October snow, and a harsh reminder of the chilling winter ahead. All those thoughts of black ice was wiped away by the sight of these golden luscious nuggets at the local Chinese market. The hearty fruits of the winter....
As a member of the nut family, fresh chestnut fruits have about 180-200 Kcal per 100 grams serving, much lower than its cousins like walnuts, and almonds. As with any plant product, chestnuts contain no cholesterol. They also contain very little fat, mostly unsaturated, and with its no gluten properties, it can play an important role in the diet of individual with gluten sensitivity. Chestnuts can be dried and milled into flour, which can then be used in gluten-free baked goods, and Italians often use it to make pasta and gnocchi.
The French and Italian brought this fruit to the next level by candying them in a vanilla infused syrup, and the exquisite marrons glacés was born in the 16th century. There is almost nothing more heavenly than a marrons glacés with sips of espresso. They are also the basis for many desserts, among which the famous “crème de marrons”, itself a staple ingredients for more desserts such as the mont-blanc, ice-creams, cakes, sweet sauce or garnish for other desserts.
Even with these delicious treat that would satisfy any gourmet, it is hardly a match against the sensory explosion caused by the fragrance of the Sweet Roasted Chestnuts 糖炒栗子 on the streets of Hong Kong.
This Chinese street food was dated back in the 10th century, and poems were written to dedicate its glorious caramelised colour and a scent that sends those with a devotion to the heavens.