Makes 5 x 225g jars (or 4 8oz jars)
Although I am undeniably American, I have embraced my kitchen scale and find I prefer the metric system for cooking. Pam Corbin is from the UK and this is her recipe so it’s either scales or conversion charts for us Americanos….
1kg sweet chestnuts
400g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
First, remove the leathery shells and skin from the chestnuts. Use a sharp knife to make a nick in the top of each chestnut. Plunge them into a pan of boiling water for 2–3 minutes – sufficient time to soften the shell but not to let the nuts get piping hot and difficult to handle.
Remove the pan from the heat. Fish out half a dozen or so chestnuts and peel off their coats. With luck, the thin brown skin under the shell will peel away too. Continue in this way until all are peeled.
Put the chestnuts into a clean pan and just cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 25–30 minutes, or until tender. Strain, but keep the cooking liquid. Purée the chestnuts with 100ml of the cooking liquid in a food processor or using a stick blender. Pour a further 100ml of the cooking liquid into a pan and add the sugar. Heat gently until dissolved.
Add the chestnut purée, vanilla paste and honey. Stir until well blended. Bring to the boil, then cook gently for 5–10 minutes until well thickened. Take care, as it will pop and splutter and may spit. Remove from the heat and stir in the brandy. Pour into the prepared jars and seal immediately. Use within 6 months. Store in the fridge once opened.
Pam Corbin does not recommend use of a boiling water bath, but to reduce risk of contamination, it would be a good idea to process sealed pint or quart jars in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.