Marron Glace are basically sugar-coated or candied chestnuts that are typically used as part of French Confectionery preparations. ‘Marron’ means chestnut in French and ‘glace’ describes the final shiny appearance of this food. It is quite simple to make using few key ingredients but forms a great value addition to the final dessert or baked product. The origin of Marron Glace can be traced to the South of France and it has been commonly used in other regions as well such as Northern parts of Italy and Spain. Marron Glace is characterized by the syrupy sugar coating and an inviting glaze which makes it appealing enough to be consumed as such. It is also used as a base in many desserts.
With the advent of sugar in different parts of Europe such as Northern Italy and Southern France, the locals began to experiment with it. Over time, emerged the practice of producing candied chestnuts, especially in those regions with a regular supply of home-grown chestnuts. Piedmont was perhaps the first place where the candied chestnut came into being. However the characteristic ‘glazing’ or ‘icing’ that completes the ‘Marron Glace’ came about later in the 16th century and is known to have been developed by Lyon and Cuneo.
Since the Marron Glace is prepared using high quality sweet chestnuts, it is delectable when eaten in the original candied form. Alternatively, Creme de marrons are used in the preparation of other rich delicate desserts like Mont Blanc (candied chestnuts pureed with fresh cream). It is even used in cakes, ice-creams, for preparing sweet sauce or as garnish for several other desserts.
Ingredients and Preparation
Shelled chestnuts, granulated sugar, water, vanilla extract are the chief ingredients needed.
The chestnuts are boiled in just sufficient water till soft. After draining the cooking liquid, the outer skin is rubbed off. In another pan, water is boiled along with granulated sugar, vanilla with constant stirring. The de-skinned chestnuts are returned to this sugar syrup and allowed to boil with continuous stirring. After letting the chestnuts soak in the syrup for 12-18 hours, the entire process is repeated, at least 3-4 times until the sugar syrup has been completely absorbed by the chestnuts. Finally, the chestnuts are placed in a greased tray and kept in the oven to firm up and turn dry on the surface. To attain the characteristic glaze, the chestnuts are removed from the syrup and plated without drying, topped with some of the syrup/or sprinkled with some brandy and served alongside unsweetened fresh whipped cream.
A serving size of ~ 40 g provides-
• A total of 75 calories, with 9 calories coming from fat.
• Total fat content of 1 g, saturated fat 0 g.
• Total carbohydrate content of 12 g.
• Protein content is 1 g.
• Estimated percent of calories from fat is 15 %, from carbohydrates is 79 % and from proteins is 6 %.
Chestnuts are basically considered healthy as they are lower in fat as well as calories when compared to other nuts. 1/2 cup cooked chestnuts supply 149 calories and 1.6 g fat (mostly healthy mono- and polyunsaturated type). Chestnuts are a good source of B-vitamins that facilitate energy release in the body; Vitamin C and iron that are essential for RBC – Red Blood Cell synthesis and enhance immunity. They are also rich in heart-healthy magnesium and folate offering as much as 6 g of dietary fibre.
Best Place to Buy
The Berthillon Glacier in Paris is so famous for this that normally their dreamy marron glacé sells out within no time.