Sweet Chestnut Crème Brûlée Recipe

Whip up this vegan-friendly spin on the classic French crème brûlée, and crème de marrons (sweet chestnut paste).

| June 2019

creme-brulee
Photo by Pixabay/Igor Lukin

You may think chestnuts are a typical Christmas ingredient, but for me they are not. The official hunt for chestnuts in our family begins in Holland, in the first or second week of October. However, the most beautiful and tastiest ones grow in France, in the Ardèche region, where they are protected as carefully as French wine. Chestnuts from the Ardèche have their own Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP), a certification of their quality and source. The French are rightly proud of their regional produce, and Ardèche chestnuts are used in a variety of products. One of them is crème de marrons, a sweet chestnut paste made with vanilla and sugar. It has a beautiful caramel-like taste and is often eaten on pancakes or added to cakes and tarts. In this recipe I combine my own crème de marrons with another famous French dessert: crème brûlée.

Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 10-1/2 ounces unsweetened cooked chestnuts, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup
  • scant 1 cup plant-based milk (I use almond milk)
  • pinch of salt
  • scant 1/2 cup aquafaba, chilled for at least 3 hours
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons coconut sugar

Directions

  1. Combine the cashews, crumbled chestnuts, vanilla, maple syrup, milk, and salt in a high-speed blender and blend until very smooth. You might want to use the tamper and push down the mass from time to time to get a really soft, creamy result. Set aside.
  2. Pour the aquafaba into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or into a large bowl, if using a handheld mixer) and beat for 4 to 6 minutes, until stiff white peaks form. Add the chestnut paste and beat briefly until combined. Scoop the chestnut mousse into four or six ovenproof ramekins. Refrigerate the mousse for 1 to 2 hours to firm up.
  3. Preheat the broiler to high. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the coconut sugar over each chestnut mousse. Shake the ramekins back and forth to ensure the sugar is in an even layer and set them on a rimmed baking sheet. Slide the baking sheet under the broiler and cook for about 5 minutes to caramelize the sugar, rotating the ramekins frequently to make sure the topping cooks evenly; keep your eye on them — you don’t want the coconut sugar to burn. Remove the ramekins and let cool a little. You can either serve them warm or put them back in the fridge to serve chilled — but note that if you leave them in the fridge for too long, the topping may turn into caramel.

Tips:



Add 3 tablespoons cacao or carob powder to the chestnut mousse to make a crème de marrons et du chocolat.

Alternatively, skip the coconut sugar layer and serve this as a chilled mousse topped with some seasonal fruits, such as pomegranate seeds, clementine segments, or cape gooseberries.



Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Get the latest on Natural Health and Sustainable Living with Mother Earth News!

Mother Earth News

Your friends at Mother Earth Living are committed to natural health and sustainable living. Unfortunately, the financial impact of COVID-19 has challenged us to find a more economical way to achieve this mission. We welcome you to our sister publication Mother Earth News. What you sought in the pages of Mother Earth Living can be found in Mother Earth News. For over 50 years, “The Original Guide to Living Wisely” has focused on organic gardening, herbal medicine, real food recipes, and sustainability. We look forward to going on this new journey with you and providing solutions for better health and self-sufficiency.

The impact of this crisis has no doubt affected every aspect of our daily lives. We will strive to be a useful and inspiring resource during this critical time and for years to come.

Best wishes,
Your friends at Mother Earth Living and Mother Earth News

Save Money & a Few Trees!

By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of Mother Earth News for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Classifieds