Hungarian Chestnut Ice Cream (Gesztenye Fagylait) (#36)

15 11 2012

The other day, my co-worker Lisa was telling me about a classic and extremely popular Hungarian dessert.  Gesztenyepüré – sweetened chestnut puree – is mixed with rum and passed through a potato ricer, then topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.  Lisa thought this would make for a fantastic ice cream flavour.  But making chestnut puree sounds incredibly… involved.  Scoring, roasting, and peeling chestnuts is not how I want to spend an evening!  Luckily, you can buy frozen chestnut puree — which Lisa did and kindly passed along.  Thanks!

Gesztenyepüré

Hungarian sweetened chestnut puree (Gesztenyepüré)

I must admit that I haven’t had had much exposure to chestnuts.  My experience is mostly limited to the chestnut-filled sponge cakes from Chinese bakeries, and I can’t say I’m enamoured by the taste and texture.  But chestnut puree + rum + whipped cream + chocolate?  You have my attention.

I thought this classic Hungarian dessert would be best represented in ice cream format by layering rum-spiked chestnut puree and shaved chocolate with a rum ice cream.  You can buy chestnut puree at most fine food stores and at European bakeries and delis.  If you can’t find it or if you are feeling particularly ambitious and want to make your own from scratch, you might want to try this recipe.  Though I do love Kraken spiced rum, I thought I ought to use plain rum for this recipe, so not to detract from the flavour of the chestnuts.  This was also an excuse to open a bottle of Venezuelan rum that was gifted to us by our friends Roman and Nathalie (thanks!).  For the chocolate shavings, I opted for Lindt 70%.

Overall, the ice cream was pretty tasty.  I loved the rum and chocolate, but I still can’t say I’m a fan of chestnuts.  It’s the mealy texture I don’t enjoy.  But, if you’re chestnut lover, give this recipe a try.  If you’re planning on storing this ice cream for more than a few hours, give it a chance to warm up before you scoop and enjoy — this will give the chestnut puree a chance to soften and for its nutty flavour to be more pronounced.

Hungarian Chestnut Ice Cream  (Makes about 1.25 L)

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
3 tablespoons rum, divided
250 g sweetened chestnut puree
2 tablespoons half-and-half cream
1/2 cup grated dark chocolate

  1. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  2. Add 2 cups of the half-and-half cream.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  4. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.  Stir in 1 tablespoon of rum.
  5. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  6. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Set aside.
  7. Thoroughly mix the chestnut puree with the remaining 2 tablespoons of rum and the 2 tablespoons of cream.
  8. Spread a quarter of the ice cream into a chilled dish.  Using a potato ricer, press about 1/3 of the chestnut puree over the ice cream.  Try to spread the strands of chestnut puree thinly and evenly over the ice cream and avoid any big clumps.  Sprinkle with 1/3 of the shaved chocolate.  Repeat another two times.  Top with the remaining quarter of the ice cream.  In total, you will have three layers of chestnut/chocolate between four layers of ice cream.  Draw a metal spatula or knife through the different layers a few times to marble.  (If you don’t have a potato ricer, you can spread thin layers of chestnut puree between the layers of ice cream.)
  9. Chill thoroughly in the freezer until firm.
chestnut ice cream, Gesztenye Fagylait

The Official Taster says: “Perfect for the season.”

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2 responses

6 01 2013
Anonymous

Hi, I would love to make this. Would you be able to tell me which ‘fine’ food stores in the U.S. would carry frozen chestnut puree? Or if I could order it online?
I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you for sharing!

6 01 2013
52 Scoops

I’m not familiar with US food stores (I’m based in Canada), but try Whole Foods. I’ve also seen chestnut puree in cans in the jam section of nicer grocery stores. Failing that, you can order online — Amazon has a few canned varieties. I hope you’re able to track some down!




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