Hero ingredient - marron glace
How many times have you walked past the marron glace in a French supermarket, lusted over the beautiful tin - so French, so art deco, so chic - but not had a scooby what to do with whats inside? Seems a bit of a wasted effort to lug it back on the Eurostar only to bin the contents? Well, fret no more, that tin will be yours!
WHAT IS IT? Marron glace are candied and glazed chestnuts from the south of France. They can be whole or pureed, add them to dishes or eat them on their own. They are pretty darn sweet with that distinctive, dare I say it, slightly gritty, crumbly chestnut texture.
WHAT DO I DO WITH IT? The pureed version is the key ingredient in a Mont Blanc, the meringue filled with chestnut puree. You could do a good riff on this, spooning the puree into an Eton mess with some grated dark chocolate. The whole nuts are definitely too sweet to be chopped for a stuffing, best off sticking these straight in your mouth Marie Antoinette style.
WHERE DO I GET IT? France. Obvs. Most delicatessens tend to sell them around Christmas. Or alternatively, make them yourselves. This is easier than it sounds - essentially peeled chestnuts boiled in a sugar syrup with vanilla to cook. They are then repeatedly dunked in a clear syrup to glaze, and dried in a low oven.