Creme de Marrons (Chestnut Spread)

When I was sprier (and when I could eat all that chocolate!) I used to do culinary tours. One of the most fun things to do was to take people into places and explain some of the lesser-known items that, incongruently, France is famous for. I know. I had to think about that for a minute, too.

I’d point out things like fleur de sel, salted butter from Brittany (doing my best to reverse decades of people insisting that gourmands only ate unsalted butter), the esteemed (and ridiculously delicious) Madame Loïk, Amora mustard, Kiri, and caillé. I even shared some of the goofier things here on the blog, which has been up for a decade but still has only 1 share on Pinterest and 17 on Facebook. So perhaps I overestimated people’s interest in pop’n fresh-style croissant dough sold in cardboard tubes, and rosé wine pre-mixed with grapefruit flavoring.

Still, he persisted. Take crème de marrons, for example. It’s hard to get people outside of France to pay attention to it. Heck, even the Wikipedia page for it, in French, when you head over to the English version, takes you to a page about candied chestnuts, not chestnut cream. It easy to dismiss the dubiously brown paste that comes in a tin, that’s admittedly a lot prettier than what’s in it. But if you’re not familiar with it, I urge you to consider it.

First up, the word crème is a misnomer. There’s no cream in it; it’s just pulverized and pureed chestnuts. In some cases, the chestnuts used are already candied. (They use the brisures, the bits of candied chestnuts that are broken in the complicated candying process.) In other cases, the paste is sweetened with vanilla added, and packaged up, for all to enjoy. There’s no fuss, no muss.

The variety of les formats are interesting. There’s a standard 300-gram tin (above), which is a little over a cup. But there’s also a 4-pack of mini tins, each one holding no more than a few demitasse spoonfuls. For bakeries, I’ve seen multi-gallon pails of it for sale in professional supply stores. And for those who don’t want to bother buying two things at once, you can buy yogurt with chestnut cream already in it, since they’re often enjoyed together.

It’s also sold in toothpaste-like tubes that are intended, intentionally or not, to be administered directly in the mouth, like sweetened condensed milk. Some are surprised that normally-reserved French people might stick a tube of something in their mouth and squeeze something to eat into it.

But let me assure you, I wouldn’t be surprised if many of those very chic French women that everything talks about in best-selling books and widely-read magazine articles, who know how to tie their scarves just right and are impossibly chic with pencil jeans and oversized handbags casually tossed over their shoulder, very possibly have a tube in their kitchen (or in their shoulder bag) that they take a squeeze out of every now and then. When no one’s looking – or writing about, of course.

Romain likes the version from the magasin bio, the organic store, made with natural ingredients. I have proof of that because he recently presented me with a crate of empty jam jars, which he managed to stash somewhere where I never saw them. I thought were jars he wanted me to refill with jam, but noticed almost half of them were empty jars of organic chestnut cream. (Actually, when I just took a look at it again, I realize there are more empty chestnut cream jars than jam jars. And here I’ve been slaving over a hot stove, winter, spring, summer, and fall, to keep him stocked with jam.)

Aside from baker’s using it make Mont Blanc, a classic French pastry with a spaghetti-like pile of chestnut cream mounded on top, I suspect the rest of the crème de marron consumed in France is either swiped across morning toast, or eaten with yogurt or fromage blanc. That’s how I like it. But it also is used in a number of recipes, a few of which I’ve linked to below. And yes, you can even make your own at home, if you’ve got the moxie.

So what the heck does this shiny paste, that I just learned Romain prefers to my homemade jams and jellies, taste like? Well, the dirt-brown color of the crème lets you know it’s gonna earthy-tasting, a claim backed up by it’s ruddy, nutty, almost roasted squash-like flavor. The sugar gives it distinct toffee notes, which complements the chestnuts and makes them (very) easy to swallow, or lick off a spoon. The organic brands use raw cane sugar, but don’t always have vanilla in them.

While I no longer take people through outdoor markets and supermarkets anymore (online, or in real life), if you go on your own, there are a variety of other brands to choose from, although Clément Faugier is the most prominent and popular you’ll come across. And there’s a surprise on the bottom when turn the empty can over; you can meet Marono, their mascot, and thank him for leading you on a tasty adventure.

Chestnut Spread Recipes

Angelina’s Mont Blanc (Fine Dining Lovers)

Mont Blanc Dessert (Mary’s Making)

Mont Blanc Chestnut Dessert Tart (Olive and Mango)

Homemade Chestnut Paste (My Little Expat Kitchen)

Galette de rois à la crème de marron (Albert Menes, in French)

Chestnut Paste (Asian Vegan and Beyond)

Crème de marron ice cream (Turbigo Gourmandises, in French)

Chestnut Cream/Crème de marrons (Food 52)

Chestnut Cream Éclairs (Southern Fatty)

No-Churn Chestnut Ice Cream (Nigella Lawson)

Chestnut Vanilla Ice Cream (Mad About Macarons)

Clément Faugier Chestnut Spread in Tins, Mini-Tins, and Tube (Amazon)

 

 

 

Deliciously creamy French chestnut paste (crème de marrons)

Never miss a post!

115 comments

  • Christine
    January 13, 2020 1:14pm

    Thank you for featuring crème de marrons, an absolute staple in French households! There was always some on hand at home when I was little. We ate it with yoghurt or fromage frais, yes indeed. Or with vanilla ice-cream. My favourite: with crème fraîche or very cold crème fleurette. Reply

    • January 13, 2020 6:40pm

      Oh what a treat Crème de Marrons is! I always bring a few tins in my suitcase when I come back from a little trip back home (I’m french and currently live in the UK, where I have yet to come across an affordable tin of crème de marrons!).
      I love it with fromage blanc or yogurt, like you said, and love spreading it on my crêpes. I sometimes use it for baking, it gives a nice sort of fudgy texture to cakes. I’d love to try to make some sort of ice cream that would celebrate chestnut paste and yogurt or fromage blanc…. some experimenting coming up! Reply

  • Tara
    January 13, 2020 1:28pm

    Hi David, the link to this post (in the email) is broken, although the link from your home page works fine. A great read, thank you! Reply

    • January 13, 2020 2:02pm
      David Lebovitz

      Can you let me know which email you’re referring to? My normal RSS feed to subscribers hasn’t gone out yet. Where is the email you are getting generated from, so I can fix it? Thanks! : ) Reply

  • January 13, 2020 2:01pm

    Love that you highlighted this wonderful ingredient. I adore chestnuts and I’ve hoarded many cans of chestnut cream, though never noticing the mascot at the bottom of the Faugier can (I will have to go look)! I like to use it for so many things – from crepe filling to making ice cream, to fondant cakes and pudding. Would love if you’d share dessert recipes using it some time in the future. Happy New Year! Reply

    • January 13, 2020 2:03pm
      David Lebovitz

      Glad you like it too. A problem with creating recipes that use it is that it’s not necessarily obtainable for everyone (although I see it is available in the U.S. by mail order) but I’ve linked to a bunch of recipes at the end of the post. Happy baking! Reply

  • Dee Hinson
    January 13, 2020 2:52pm

    Thank you for the marrons glacé post ! I agree with Romain – at this moment I have 300 Gm of shelled chesnuts (scavenged marked down from my local Nova Scotia supermarket) on my stovetop soaking for the second day in sugar and vanilla syrup. I am trying to make marrons, although I am resigned to only partial success as I suspect these are dried out Chinese chesnuts. However, something is better than nothing, and my only source of Clément Faugier is outrageously expensive. I have seen Austria-Hungarian spreads which are pretty good, and half the price. Three days left to go ….! Reply

    • june
      January 13, 2020 5:52pm

      I can get bags of organic shelled chestnuts meant for snacking at the local Asian store (H Mart) and they are a glorious resource! I went there to stock up for Thanksgiving and now I may try to puree them for a homemade creme de marron. Reply

      • Chandler In Las Vegas
        January 13, 2020 9:01pm

        June, is there a season for these in Asian markets or are they year round? In one of David’s links, Homemade Chestnut Paste, is a mention of vacuum-packed chestnuts. Are these what you are referencing? Reply

        • January 14, 2020 6:56pm

          FYI ‘vacuum-packed chestnuts’ Are very common in France, probably from the Ardeche. Reply

        • june
          January 15, 2020 4:37pm

          Yes, available year-round in vacuum-packed plastic/foil packages of about 8oz’s? for usually under $5 each. And Organic! Reply

  • Dee Hinson
    January 13, 2020 2:54pm

    PS when we vacationed in Zakynthos back in the 1980’s I was thrilled to find chesnut milkshakes offered at the little beach taverna. I suspect they were just chesnut spread, vanilla ice cream and milk whirred up in a blender, but , oh, they were SO good ! Reply

    • Emma
      January 15, 2020 11:30am

      Ohh, that is a great idea for a chestnut lover for me Reply

  • soosie
    January 13, 2020 3:34pm

    I’ve never had any French product, pastry or dish with chestnuts where they didn’t taste like a poor relation of a potato. Given my trust in you, David, I will look for the yogurt to give it a try, or perhaps a single mini-tin, but still (insert doubtful face here). Reply

    • Toni McCormick
      January 13, 2020 7:35pm

      Soosie, years ago I made an XMAS chestnut cake (Chocolatier magazine) since my FIL loved the flavor. After spending $15 to have ONE can shipped to me from NY and spending 2 days concocting the damn dish, it tasted like cig ashes! I’ve never been able bring myself to try it when I did visit France! Reply

    • Deborah
      January 13, 2020 11:55pm

      We appear to be the only ones who don’t care for chestnuts. I’ve never understood the passion for them… the roasted ones you get on the street are dry and floury, and the candied form are tooth-achingly sweet but still floury! Ah well, at least I’m not alone in my opinion! :-) Reply

      • Sandra Alexander
        January 14, 2020 12:40pm

        You are not alone! Horrible texture, blah taste. Reply

      • Emma
        January 15, 2020 11:33am

        That is because maybe you never tasted the right ones.
        For candied chestnut, only the top quality, very expensive found in artisan shop are good, the “normal” one cloyingly sweet.
        Same for roasted, but it is possible not to like specific taste. Bus as a Corsican (it used to be stale food for our ancestors) I love my dries, roasted, floured… anything chestnut ! Reply

  • January 13, 2020 3:44pm

    I’m excited to try this! I fell in love with chestnuts while on our honeymoon in Switzerland, but I’ve never had chestnut puree. Thank you for the suggestions on how to use it. Reply

    • January 13, 2020 5:05pm

      How timely! My husband pointed out the ancient can of Clément Faugier in my pantry just yesterday. I recall that I have used a previous can as a sweet pizza base with chocolate, candied pears and hazelnuts.
      Not sure what I was thinking when I purchased the second but thank you for all the lovely ideas! Reply

  • Jessica
    January 13, 2020 4:06pm

    I bring home lots of French food items when I go there (squeeze bottles of Amora being at the top of the list) but never thought to bring crème de marrons, one of my favorite delicacies. Must remedy this next time! (she says, checking airfares …) Reply

    • January 14, 2020 12:44pm
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, those squeeze bottles of Amora mustard are great for traveling – no breakage! Reply

  • Kace
    January 13, 2020 4:07pm

    Ohhhhh! I LOVE chestnuts and originally fell in love with them in the canned puree form. Kaffeehaus (Rick Rodgers) has a wonderfully simple Hungarian cake recipe using chestnut puree in the batter and in the cream frosting that everyone I’ve ever made it for has gone gaga over. :) Reply

    • Dee Hinson
      January 13, 2020 4:43pm

      I HAVE made a Swiss roulade many years ago with chesnut purée in the cake.It was from a little Sainsbury dessert cookbook, the kind displayed at the checkout. Delish ! I could probably find it again…. Reply

      • Michèle
        January 13, 2020 5:37pm

        That sounds divine and perfect for creme de marrons which goes so well with whipped cream and light cake. I bet one could just go ahead and do this, even if there’s not a recipe to hand. Reply

    • TRISH CURLEE
      January 18, 2020 3:40am

      What is the name of the cake? Reply

      • TRISH CURLEE
        January 18, 2020 3:56am

        In the Kaffeehaus cookbook? Reply

  • Rosalind Paragus
    January 13, 2020 5:14pm

    I absolutely LOVE creme de marron! Reply

  • Kristen
    January 13, 2020 5:16pm

    Fantastic article! Reply

  • Susan Z
    January 13, 2020 5:26pm

    The first time I ate creme de marron was in a crepe sold buy a street vendor outside the gare du nord! Reply

    • Rosalind Paragus
      January 13, 2020 5:44pm

      Me too! Reply

  • Michèle
    January 13, 2020 5:33pm

    I love creme de marrons too! I live in the south of France and they come from the Ardeche which is the next department north of me (I’m in the Gard). Thanks for all these recipes, I’m looking forward to trying them; who doesn’t like a Mont Blanc? I’ll tell you one extra one: Nigella has an Italian Christmas cake recipe which is an odd version of a sort of tiramisu, with a panettone base & masala flavoured marscapone. She tops it with marrons glaces. If you slather a thick layer of this creme de marrons on top of the panettone before adding the marscapone creme, the result is DELICIOUS. Try it! Reply

    • june
      January 15, 2020 4:47pm

      Ok, panettone toast for Christmas breakfast is my favorite – the only time of year I eat it – and this sounds just incredible! I would never have thought of it – I usually just use butter and love it, but this. . .! Thank you Reply

  • Lesley
    January 13, 2020 5:37pm

    Hi David,

    Thanks so much for another wonderful post! Excited to try some of these recipes. Would you have a recipe for a chestnut-based sauce for ice cream? Whenever I am in Paris I always get a sundae at Berthillon love their chestnut sauce. Do you have any idea if it’s made with Marrons glacès or if it can be made with Faugier puree? Reply

    • Dee Hinson
      January 13, 2020 7:42pm

      I would just try loosening the sweetened purée with cream and a good dash of rum… Reply

  • Orev
    January 13, 2020 5:38pm

    Being of 100% Ardéchois origin, I’m very partial to châtaignes as I probably wouldn’t be here if not for my ancestors using them as staple food.
    I buy them in different forms everytime I’m in France and a favourite I make with chestnut spread is the Ardéchois cake, often in a bite size version.
    To me, and I believe that’s usually the rule in France, purée de marrons is unsweetened and used mainly as a side for white meat dishes or in a parmentier with duck confit. I understand that chestnut cream might be a confusing translation for crème de marrons, but I hope none will buy the purée thinking it’s the crème. Although that might be a good strategy in a household where homemade jam is being unfairly ignored. ;-) Reply

  • Terry
    January 13, 2020 5:39pm

    I love crème de marrons! Don’t know why it doesn’t have a larger following. I have recipe for a chocolate cake with creme de marrons from a very old Bon Appétit which I make from time to time. I remember it is crepes as well. Wonderful stuff. Reply

  • Charlotte
    January 13, 2020 5:41pm

    The 500 gram can of chestnut purée makes a truly fabulous cake when mixed with 100 grams melted butter, 200 grams melted chocolate, and 3 eggs. Mix ingredients together, and bake in a 23-cm. springform pan, which you have prepared with butter and dusted with cocoa powder. This is simple, richly flavored, delicious! Reply

    • Charlotte
      January 13, 2020 5:53pm

      A note on recipe above – this uses the Clement Faugier chestnut spread or crème (as David describes), which is a mixture of chestnuts with sugar and vanilla – not the chestnut purée, which has no sugar. As the sugar in the spread is the only sugar in the cake, you need to use this, and not chestnut purée. Reply

    • Jeanne
      January 13, 2020 6:58pm

      And no flour? Sounds great to me! Reply

      • Charlotte
        January 15, 2020 8:03am

        Indeed – no flour – just the chocolate, chestnut spread, eggs and butter. Reply

    • Candace
      January 13, 2020 8:52pm

      what type of chocolate? unsweetened or bittersweet? Reply

      • Charlotte
        January 15, 2020 7:59am

        Good quality bittersweet – Reply

    • Dee Hinson
      January 14, 2020 12:53am

      Temperature and length of time baking ? Reply

      • Charlotte
        January 15, 2020 9:43am

        I preheat my oven to 175 C, using the fan function, and leave the fan on for 5 minutes or so when I put the cake in – this helps to start the rise; then I turn the fan function off, but leave the oven on in the normal way. Check the cake 30 minutes after you have put it in – a circular crack will appear around the center of the cake, and it will rise a bit more. Usually the cake is done in about 40 minutes, but keep an eye on it after 30. It will sink a bit after you take it out of the oven; this is normal.
        The protocol for mixing is as follows: Melt the butter and chocolate together, in a very very low oven – remove and let cool a bit. Separate the eggs and whip the whites. Mix the chestnut purée in with the chocolate/butter mixture; add the egg yolks and mix thoroughly. Fold the chocolate/chestnut/butter/egg mixture into the whipped whites, and pour into prepared 20 cm.springform pan and bake as above. Reply

  • Teresa
    January 13, 2020 5:42pm

    I am in the ‘I love chestnuts’ club but I have never tried the canned creme de marron. I mostly have microwave fresh ones in water or roasted on the streets in Asia. In Asia it is used a filling in cakes and it was my childhood favorite birthday cake. It’s near impossible to find such cake in the U.S. Any recipe suggestions for such a cake?

    I am definitely going to try it with yogurt! That sounds terrific! I will be looking for those tubes next time we’re in France. Reply

  • January 13, 2020 6:01pm

    We have a garage full of those tins, stocking up with every trip to Paris! It’s the greatest. They also have it (or had in the past) at Fortnum & Mason in London.

    I love to make cinnamon cakes with layers of the chestnut cream and some mixed into the frosting. I used it in this infamous piece: https://laughfrodisiac.com/2015/12/31/it-is-impossible-to-roll-cakes-but-lets-make-a-yule-log-html-d2/ Reply

  • Phyllis Boorinakis
    January 13, 2020 6:02pm

    Back in the 70’s I used to buy the one in the pretty tin at Cost Plus for dirt cheap (as all of their goods were then)…I’d try different recipes on my family but my favorite way (go, Romain!) was just to eat it with a spoon. Oddly, trips to France find me collecting all kinds of foodstuffs to bring home but I never pick up a can of creme de marron. Already had too much of a good thing? Reply

  • Lauren McKinney
    January 13, 2020 6:03pm

    Ooh, thanks for this. I discovered creme de marrons in 1972 when I was 13. My military family lived in Kaiserslautern, Germany and my intrepid mother often booked us vacations in amazing places, in this case a then-sleepy hamlet called Les Issambres on the French Riviera. That is where my mother bought a can of this delightful sweet stuff. I ate it with a spoon out of the can and got in a spot of trouble for that. My other discovery there was grainy raw honey in different flavors according to what flower it came from. Also by the way Nigella Lawson has a wonderful chestnut cheesecake in Feast that I have served on Christmas. Reply

  • Ellen
    January 13, 2020 6:03pm

    Your timing is perfect – while cleaning out the pantry a few days ago, I discovered an unused tin of Clement Faugier, the last of several I brought home from a trip to France at the end of 2017. Any idea how long it lasts on the shelf? I’d hate for it to go to waste. Reply

    • ALB
      January 15, 2020 4:51pm

      Shelf life-if the can is not dated, within reason I wouldn’t worry about the timeframe as long as there is no damage to the can (rust, crumple, puncture etc ). Reply

  • January 13, 2020 6:09pm

    When I was a student in Paris many long years ago, one of my most favorite discoveries, was the dessert, Mont Blanc, which I couldn’t resist if I had any sous in my pocket. I think I can a find a can here someplace, & indulge myself again. If it comes in a tube, I’ll still make Mont Blanc & it will be even easier. Reply

  • Lynn
    January 13, 2020 6:18pm

    I absolutely love crème de marrons! My recipe for chocolate chestnut flourless tart Is requested and enjoyed every year at Christmas. The canned product isn’t as easy to find as it once was here in the Cleveland area, but I did notice it’s available on Amazon! Mon dieu! Reply

    • Dee Hinson
      January 13, 2020 7:44pm

      I would just try loosening the sweetened purée with cream and a good dash of rum… Reply

  • Nicole
    January 13, 2020 6:19pm

    My parents are French and we had marrons glacés and in paste form for holidays. We loved to put the marron paste sandwiched between fresh baked meringues with whipped cream. Easy to make. Sometimes with melted dark chocolate drizzled over. So good! Reply

  • January 13, 2020 6:33pm

    I ordered some chestnut puree recently, thinking I was going to get something exactly what’s pictured in this blog. Unfortunately what’s available in the UK as “chestnut puree” is a packet of what turned out to be a solid beige block. I will definitely have to try some of the French brands or make my own! Reply

  • Pru
    January 13, 2020 6:36pm

    I’ve never had chestnut Paste before.
    Ordered some from Amazon. Can’t wait. Reply

    • Chandler In Las Vegas
      January 14, 2020 1:01am

      As someone suggested above, both chestnut puree and chestnut creme are nicely priced on Amazon. Reply

  • dominique
    January 13, 2020 6:39pm

    I think it was the Hippo chain of restaurants that had on their menu a “Damnation” which was creme de marrons, creme fraiche, and chocolate sauce. My favorite dessert using creme de marrons. Reply

  • Joyce
    January 13, 2020 6:44pm

    Years ago, I made a chocolate cake using the sweetened variety. Delicious! Can’t recall where I got the creme de marron, I’ll have to try that again. Although the recipe has long been among the missing, I’m sureI can find another. Reply

    • Charlotte
      January 16, 2020 4:19am

      See above – I often make a delicious and very simple cake using the 500 gram can of chestnut spread (creme), 200 grams of chocolate, 100 grams of butter, and 3 eggs- Reply

  • Jeanne
    January 13, 2020 7:02pm

    If I have any control over what will be my last meal, it will be a can of this very stuff. To be on the safe side, I do have a tube in my purse for emergency use. Reply

  • Alys
    January 13, 2020 7:05pm

    This Brit loves the stuff. It’s sublime in so many things but gorgeous on ice cream… Reply

  • Donata
    January 13, 2020 7:27pm

    I live in the north of Italy, Varese and we know and use a lot creme de marrons (crema di marroni). The best are with Vanilla. As we also are very closed to Switzerland, we sometimes go there to buy things we can’t find in Italy… for example creme de marrons in a tube. I personally use it especially in winter to make very simple but delicious Mont Blanc Reply

    • ALB
      January 15, 2020 4:56pm

      Best foods in Paris-marrons glacé ice cream at Berthillon (November) and Mont Blanc at Angelique. I see that DL has a link for a recipe for the latter. Reply

  • January 13, 2020 7:44pm

    Hard to find in the States now, but I used to love it spread on top of a mochi waffle. (Just put a piece of mochi in the waffle iron till it’s puffed and crispy on the outside. The inside will be chewy and stretchy. Yum! Reply

  • epiphany
    January 13, 2020 7:48pm

    There is a fabulous recipe for a chocolate chestnut cake in one of Nigella Lawson’s books. Reply

  • January 13, 2020 7:55pm

    There on an eye-level shelf in my farmhouse’s cold pantry sat a 20-year old can of creme de marron, beloved for what was in the tin, as much for what was on the tin, seemingly it became my larder’s mascot. I had to finally dispose of it in the most undignified way when rusty seams had set in. Opened, emptied and rinsed, I ceremoniously nested the can in my recycling bin and thank it for the quiet daily reminders of my first trip to the City of Light. Reply

  • Candace
    January 13, 2020 8:56pm

    For those who like American pumpkin pie, Melissa Clark of the NYTimes published a recipe that has a layer of chestnut creme under the pumpkin. It is delicious! Reply

  • Tomese Buthod
    January 13, 2020 9:16pm

    This summer I had a French immersion week outside of Lyon. One of our activities was visiting the home of a local woman who taught us to make authentic French tarte aux pommes. She put her homemade apple sauce under the slices of apples, which was great by itself, but she served a dollop of her homemade creme de marron along side the tarte. OMG! Now when I make the tarte, I put a nice schmear of the creme on the crust (and no apple puree) and then the apple slices. It may not be the truly authentic French tarte, but dang it’s delicious. Reply

  • Iman
    January 13, 2020 9:17pm

    I like a small spoonful in my coffee. Reply

  • ron shapley
    January 13, 2020 9:42pm

    So……..kind of like Nutella ??? bight my tongue LOL Reply

  • January 13, 2020 9:55pm

    Those tubes make great, easy-to-transport gifts. (Supermarket shopping is a favorite overseas travel activity.) Reply

  • January 13, 2020 10:03pm

    Crème de marrons is readily available on Amazon, and the tubes are surprisingly inexpensive if you buy a 12-pack.

    When I go to France, two of the things I must have are:

    1) “barquette de marrons”, a boat-shaped almond-and-chestnut pastry covered in crème de marrons and dipped in chocolate. Sadly, few pastry shops are good at it (I am partial to the Jean-Paul Hévin ones).

    2) The chestnut mousse available in the chilled dessert aisle next to yogurts, under the brand “Marronsui’s”. It may be industrial, but oh so good. Reply

    • Caroline
      January 14, 2020 9:22am

      I agree, but have you tried it mixed with Greek yogurt? Cuts the slightly sickly sweetness and makes it go further. Not that I’m mean or anything….. Reply

    • june
      January 15, 2020 5:41pm

      ooo just googled the Hevin barquette in images and it does look amazing : ) Reply

  • pj
    January 13, 2020 10:52pm

    OMG? I LOVE this stuff!! I first experienced it years ago when, on a whim, I bought one of those teeny jars of it from Angelina’s. I’ve been a fan since. Try it on a fresh baked warm croissant! Reply

  • Andrea
    January 13, 2020 11:56pm

    David… I am not sure you control the ads that run on your site, but the one running above the photos was ear wax removal. It was kind of funny to see cans of stuff kind of the same color!!

    The post and comments though are terrific! Reply

  • Jen
    January 13, 2020 11:58pm

    Thank you for sharing this, as I’ve had a tube languishing in my pantry since my last trip to France! Some great ideas here.

    On that trip, hen we picked up a tube of Creme de Salidou (salted caramel), my son announced that on our birthdays, that’s what we could use to brush our teeth! Perhaps the same is true of the creme de marrons? :) Reply

  • Elizabeth
    January 14, 2020 1:10am

    Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking – from my home to yours” has a fantastic chestnut cake recipe that uses chestnut paste as an ingredient. I’d say that the main benefit of the cake is that after you make it, there’s still half a tin of chestnut paste to eat, but it’s a seriously fantastic cake; possibly my favorite ever. So introducing me to the joys of eating chestnut paste straight from the spoon is only the second best thing about this cake. Reply

  • tori
    January 14, 2020 1:22am

    I love this post. I love the story and explanations. Thank you for sharing, David! Reply

  • Alyson
    January 14, 2020 2:47am

    I tried this for the first time in November on my last trip to Paris in a crepe. It was ammmmazing. Didn’t think to order, but it’s now in my Amazon basket! Reply

  • Linda Percell Vadasz
    January 14, 2020 3:30am

    Chestnut purée is popular in Hungarian cuisine, too. In the late George Lang’s classic The Cuisine of Hungary see his recipe for chestnut torte. I have developed a recipe for wild mushroom soup in which I add chestnut purée. It adds a depth of flavor that makes you feel you are in a forest. Reply

  • January 14, 2020 4:30am

    It’s not just the French who love chestnuts and creme de marrons. In Japan chestnuts appear in both Japanese and western dishes, both savory and sweet, and mont blanc is a ubiquitous dessert. Roasted chestnuts are sold on the street and in train stations in fall and winter. The best are cooked in coals (alongside sweet potatoes, which were our favorite childhood snack). Reply

  • Judy
    January 14, 2020 4:37am

    Crepes au marrons were easily found at any crepes stand when I first visited Paris in the late ‘60’s and 70’s (can this be real?). I was wild for them and they represented Paris street food as much as jambon beurre. More recently they seem to have been sadly replaced by Nutella crepes and they are not easily found. Love chestnuts in any form. Reply

  • Sue R
    January 14, 2020 4:37am

    I’ve only had Chestnut puree once (bought it in Australia from the deli I cooked at long ago) and made Nigella’s Mont Blanc. It was wonderful! I like the idea of having it in yogurt. Hopefully they still sell it. Reply

  • Franklin
    January 14, 2020 6:02am

    Thank you so much for this timely post! Just a few days ago, I met up with a friend here in Belarus. She had returned from Paris with a tin of chestnut puree, gushing over its flavor. And I was wondering what to do with it! Now, I know. Reply

  • Oliver
    January 14, 2020 6:38am

    “First up, the word crème is a misnomer.” It certainly isn’t. The French word “crème” doesn’t necessarily mean there’s cream in it. E.g. there is no cream in “crème solaire.” ;-) However it is quite misleading to translate “crème marron” with “chestnut puree” (as you do). In France “purée de marron” is something else. French pâtissiers distinguish between “crème de marron, pâte de marron et purée de marron.” Often they use all three of them to get the perfect texture, mouthfeel and taste. Reply

    • January 14, 2020 12:34pm
      David Lebovitz

      A number of culinary terms don’t quite translate. Crème (according to Larousse) either means cream, or “cream dessert.” That doesn’t address crème de cassis, for example, a sweetened fruit liqueur, or crème de cacao. Pâte literally translates to “paste,” which doesn’t work in English. Ditto with chocolat noir, which people in France translate to “black chocolate,” and conjures up something that is pitch black in color, rather than dark brown – for those reasons, translations are always tricky. Reply

  • Cyndy
    January 14, 2020 6:48am

    Yaourt au lait de Brebis. I grabbed some off the shelf of the local Intermarché once because of the packaging. Little glass pot with crème de marrons in the bottom, which I didn’t know what that was at the time. To an American, anything in a small glass pot is so charming.

    My husband goes through two or three yogurts per day and buys whatever’s on sale. These with the chestnut purée I hide behind pickles or something way in the back on a shelf he’s too tall to bend over and look through comfortably. I was surprised to find out what tasted so divine was chestnuts as I’ve never been a fan of them as roasted and sold on the street corners. But this purée at the bottom of the little glass pot of lait de brebis was an eye opener. Like you with your Madame Loïk, David, I can only let myself indulge a few times a year.

    And now you say the purée comes in tubes! Ah, my waistline is so conspired against over here… Reply

  • Judy
    January 14, 2020 8:38am

    I was thrilled when I saw that you wrote about chestnut puree.
    It is always a problem for me here in Melbourne, Australia. The only chestnut “puree” available here are the Clement Faugier ones. They come in two versions. The unsweetened version and a sweetened one. However, the sweetened one is nearly runny, as it has a large amount of sugar syrup included with it. That one is not suitable for my purposes. I am Hungarian, and we make chestnut puree, that is not runny. We add some melted chocolate and a bit of rum (and vanilla, of course) and put it through a potato ricer, on top of whipped cream (some more whipped cream on top). Looks like this http://jucacsarda.hu/termek/gesztenyepure/ I used to live in Sydney and one could buy this brand https://www.hero-foodservice.com/home/products/various/chestnut-puree which was the perfect consistency, (looks exacIy the same as the unsweetened Clement Faugier, but it is sweetened) was not at all runny, had vanilla and sugar added. I would “improve” it a bit by adding chocolate and rum, but could have been served straight out of the tin
    Can’t find it here in Melbourne. I usually end up buying the unsweetened version of the Clement Faugier, which of course requires more work, as it needs to be sweetened. Icing sugar seems to make it cloying, so have to make a bit of syrup, being careful, not to make it runny.
    Do they sell something similar in France? Your pictures seem to suggest that they are also runny. Looking on line, it is hard to tell if the sweetened versions will be too runny (and BTW, also too sweet) Reply

  • January 14, 2020 9:39am

    My kid gonna love it. Thank you Reply

  • nick
    January 14, 2020 12:45pm

    Thanks for the little biographies of these perhaps obscure French products, David. Much appreciated!
    I don’t know where the ubiquitous creme de marrons made, but like many other products, there is a town that considers itself the center of the universe as far as, as in this case, chestnuts or châtaigne. The town is Collobrieres, a little north of St Tropez as the crow flies, but millions of miles away into La France Profond.
    For miles around the valleys and ridges are covered in chestnut trees. Harvested and taken to Collobrieres to be made into produits châtaignes.
    A favourite is the ice cream. For someone who likes both real ice cream and chestnuts, it is delicious. For someone in the area, well worth the exciting drive out there, into a little pocket from 75 years ago. Reply

  • January 14, 2020 2:29pm

    Thank you for sharing. Chestnut ❤️. Reply

  • January 14, 2020 7:46pm

    You don’t have to be a French girl to eat creme de marron straight from the tube. Angelina has nice tubes for 3€. They get their marrons from the Ardeche. Reply

  • Amy
    January 14, 2020 10:41pm

    I adore chestnuts! Here is eastern Kansas, enterprising farmers cultivate the trees so we have fresh local chestnuts each fall. I make chestnut rice and chicken stewed with chestnuts, and put them in Thanksgiving dressing. The chestnut paste you feature is so delicious on buttered toast with scrambled eggs! I know it sounds like an odd combo to some but the textures and flavors work. I found pastries on the west coast in Japanese bakeries with chestnut paste. Divine. Reply

    • ALB
      January 15, 2020 5:07pm

      Please share any good method for peeling the chestnuts. We have boatloads here in Virginia but they are so hard to peel as to be practically useless (cut a cross in the shell, roast at high oven temp, wrestle the shells off while still hot, burning fingers and cutting fingers on the shell edges). Reply

      • Amy
        January 15, 2020 11:37pm

        The ones I get from Chestnut Charlie’s are so fresh and moist they largely slip out of their skins…a few are dry and require a paring knife, but most I can peel quite easily once I get through the outer husk. Reply

  • Kameela
    January 14, 2020 11:37pm

    Isn’t that such an iconic tin? I collect tins and have this one in my collection I Made a galette des rois with a chestnut cream and rum filling and It was gone as soon as it came out if the oven. From now on I have to do two Reply

  • Sharon Tucker
    January 14, 2020 11:48pm

    Ah. When chestnuts are mentioned I always remember Miss Marple’s predilection for marron glaces. I should look up a recipe! Reply

  • Amanda
    January 15, 2020 12:00am

    This stuff is THE BEST! Not to be confused with plain chestnut purée. My mother makes the most incredible mousse that I always request instead of cake for my birthday. It isn’t easy to find, so if I do I buy tins and tins and tins and hoard them like gold Reply

  • Linda
    January 15, 2020 3:04am

    Oh, did this post bring back memories and inspire me! For Christmas in 1982 my parents took us to London and their old haunts in Bern, Switzerland. My sister and I (all of 13 and 19) detoured for a few days in Paris. Everywhere we went we saw desserts with chestnut cream. It was challenging not to order it at every meal. I’ve never seen it here in the Pacific Northwest but now, I’m going to try to make some. If that fails, I’ll order it and make a lovely dessert. Thanks for reminding me of the adventure my little sister and I had exploring Paris on our own. Reply

  • Another Monica
    January 15, 2020 4:06am

    Lucky me, I can always get a can at my local market called Jerry’s in Englewood, NJ. Last time I bought it, I made a chestnut pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.
    I honestly don’t know why chestnut based desserts are not popular in US. Reply

  • January 15, 2020 8:56am

    Hmm I’ve had a tube of the stuff for quite a few years and never knew what to do with it. I will try it with yogurt and then maybe move onto toast, I’m not totally sold on chestnuts and always imagined it would be very sweet, which is probably why the tube still lingers in the back of the drawer. Reply

  • January 15, 2020 4:17pm

    I fell in love with this when I was able to bake with it on my first trip to France. Thanks for sharing all of these great recipes (and my éclairs) to try out! Reply

  • june
    January 15, 2020 5:51pm

    I’d love to see how Marron glacé are made – the trees are making a comeback in the US after being decimated by a bug at the turn of the century and it would be good to know how to preserve the nuts this way! Reply

    • January 15, 2020 8:45pm
      David Lebovitz

      There are videos online, such as here and here, that show the process. It’s pretty complex, which is why no one wants to make them at home – it’s a lot of work, and requires some savoir-faire : ) Reply

  • Pam on Cape Cod
    January 15, 2020 11:05pm

    “Still, he persisted.”
    I love you. Reply

  • Tom
    January 16, 2020 12:08am

    Love this stuff! Always have a can on hand for last-minute desserts or to just eat by the spoonful. Used to impress the heck out of chums in university days by spreading a little in a plain or chocolate barquette shell and covering with either a thin layer of ganache or a mirror glaze. Easy as pie and they’d think I’d been in the kitchen for days. Also awesome in a bûche de Noël. I have never, I am astonished to say, had it on toast. But obviously must. Reply

    • Susan
      January 16, 2020 5:32am

      David,
      Marono leads us on tasty chataigne adventures, but you lead us on adventures of all sorts of food, drink….life. Thank you for your writing-it always picks me up and inspires me! Please keep on persisting! Reply

    • Judy
      January 16, 2020 5:43am

      I’ve had the opposite experience to “impressing” people :-) As I said, the way I serve it is to put it through a potato ricer. Once my nephew bought a friend of his to lunch. He knew and loved chestnut puree, but his friend refused to taste it. I suppose the brown strands turned him off. Nothing could persuade him to even try a spoon full :-) Reply

  • Suzanne
    January 17, 2020 10:12pm

    The New York Times has a recipe for pumpkin pie with a layer of creme de marrons mixed with heavy cream at the bottom, under the chestnut. I’ve never made anything else for Thanksgiving since I found it. The first time, I didn’t have time to mail order the chestnut so I had to make my own. Now I always plan ahead to get some Clement Faugier. Reply

  • therese
    January 17, 2020 10:25pm

    i would love to love the crème de marron, being fanatic about roasted chestnuts. i have tried it again and again — even the la fermière yogurt — to see if i would learn to love it. unfortunately, i think, personally, that it’s overrated. Reply

  • January 18, 2020 6:51pm

    What a wonderful ingredient!! I adore chestnuts and especially these kind of spreads.
    Thank you so much David for suggesting my recipe for chestnut paste from my blog to your readers. It’s such an honor!! Reply

Leave a comment