Chestnut Boat-cakes (a cupcake version of Barquette aux Marrons)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ooh, look what was hiding in the freezer - some sweetened chestnut puree ! Who knows what a quick rummage will yield, perhaps “Foraging in the Freezer” would be a better name for the blog.

While there is the occasional splurge on some saffron or pashmak, most of the time my inner frugal madam doesn’t allow any food to be thrown away. Even the tiniest smidge of icing is ziplocked and popped into the freezer for future use. Of course, every now and again I get the “argh, what on earth did I save this for” drive and toss some, but more often than not, the oddments find their way into a recipe.

These cupcakes, inspired by Barquette aux Marrons (chestnut boats), were actually made a few weeks ago. However, the deadlines associated with baking challenges and a foodbuzz post meant they were bumped off the queue until a lull in the schedule opened up. I now know the wonderful feeling of being able to pull something out and declare: “Here’s one I prepared earlier!” Wish I had lots more stored up my sleeve now that summer is officially here, but I’m really not that organised.*Sigh*

Anyway, these Chestnut Boatcakes were requested by Mr. Kitchen Hand to farewell a colleague. The whole thing was pretty simple to put together barring an initial misstep. You see, I wanted to bake these into a boat-like shape but didn’t have any suitable tins. Of course being a tad optimistic, I thought that pinching the cupcake wrappers to shape, then lining them all up side by side on a large baking tray, would provide sufficient support so they would magically hold their shape. One can always live in hope, I’ve heard it’s lovely there.

I'm a glass half-full kind of person

After a quick bout of trimming, they looked much better. (We ate the trimmings – frugal, see?). Then, using a couple of tablespoons, I scooped the chestnut puree into a sort of quenelle shape and patted it onto the cupcake with a plastic-wrapped hand. Oh yes, first I piped a bit of ganache onto the cake to act as “glue” and for extra flavour. I think the ganache was also a freezer-find. Topped with dark melted chocolate then decorated with drizzled white chocolate, they eventually looked very presentable.


A similar sweetened chestnut puree recipe can be found here when I made Mont Blanc Cupcakes but I added some rum to this version. The cake base was a Golden Almond Cake by Rose Beranbaum (I won’t post it because I didn’t change the recipe or add any new tweaks, just used it straight up. An almost similar recipe can be found here.)

Off to see what else the freezer holds...hopefully ice - cream ;P


Barbara said...

I think I would like to have access to your freezer!
These look delicious and I agree, sometimes eating the trim and leftover is the best part. (It's usually crunchy too!)
Chestnuts are always on my mind this time of year... we had some chestnut soup with creme fraiche the other night at a restaurant. I really have to try to make it at home.

Hungry Dog said...

Lovely and imaginative as always, Shaz! I don't believe I've ever had chestnut puree but I love the idea of it...what a fabulous taste and texture it would give to little cakes. Yum!!

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shaz said...

Ha ha Barbara - you can have access anytime. Aren't chestnuts wonderful?

Thanks Hungry Dog - I love roasted chestnuts but only started using puree recently. It's worth making your own because you can control the sweetness (plus it's cheaper!)

Thanks Camelia - not sure I qualify but I published that so anyone else who's keen will be able to find your site. Cheers :)

Grace said...

sadly, my only experience with chestnuts involves flinging them at my brothers when i was younger--i have no idea how they taste! i'd sure like to hop onto one of these boats, though--they look lovely!

Karine said...

Wowowowow! That is a great way to use chesnuts.

I tried to use chestnuts this year, but it seems that my skills to peel them (after they went in the oven) are not developed.

Ellie said...

This is SOOOOOOO good especially when I read you added rum to the chestnut puree. Can you send some my way?

shaz said...

LOL Grace, I've done my fair share of chestnut flinging, the only difference is that I flung the peel only :)

Thanks Karine - they really are quite a pain to peel, I usually end up with bit under my fingernails (ow), but worth it

Of course Ellie, just say when! And the rum really does make a difference:)

The Cooking Photographer said...

Shaz I had to laugh when I read you simply pulled sweetened chestnut puree out of your freezer! Here, if we can get chestnuts at all, would be from a can about a two hour drive North.

Your "cupcakes" are amazing looking!


Vanille said...

Ice cream...I dream about it - to eat and make some ! Can you believe it was 10°c (feels like 6°C) yesterday here !!?

I also agree to peel chestnuts it's a tedious work but when you taste your homemade chestnut cream, you forget about it !
I would definitely trade my ugly muffins for your lovely and delicious cupcakes ! ;)

Marcellina said...

Shaz, these look so delicate and refined. Such creative work. Beautiful!

shaz said...

Thanks marcellina:)

shaz said...

:) Laura - I'm too lucky.

Hi Vanille-it's starting to become ice-cream weather again now, which is great!

pierre said...

Bonjour SHaz this barquette looks scrumptious and I love marron so this recipe is for me Cheers Pierre