I received an inquiry from U.K. about home made Marrons Glacé, also called 'Glazed Chestnuts' or "Cristallized chestnuts": here is how you can make your own!
1 kilo chestnuts, shell and membrane removed
1 kilo sugar
650 ml. water (+-2-1/2 US cups)
1 vanilla bean
Remove the shell from the chestnuts .
After you have removed the shells you must remove the membrane. Using a large pan, cover chestnuts with water, bring to the boil and cook 8 minutes or so. Drain and discard the water. Rub between a kitchen cloth until the skins come off.
Using again a large pan, cook the sugar, water and the vanilla bean over low heat, stirring all the while until the sugar dissolves. Allow to gently simmer 5 minutes, then add the chestnuts. Bring to the boil and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat and discard the vanilla bean.
Now, cover and allow to steep over night or at least 12 hours.
Bring again to the boil and cook 1 minute more. (1)Bring again to the boil and cook 1 minute more. Again allow to stand this time for 24 hours(*1). . Repeat again from (1) to (*1) until all the syrup has been absorbed.
Repeat it for 3 days.
Cooking over the time may inhibit the crystallization process - which is dependant on the above steps.
Drying process: preheat oven to 65°C (about 150"F), cover an oven rack or baking rack with parchment paper (or waxed). Distribute the crystallized chestnuts evenly and allow to dry out for 2 hours with the oven door propped open a few centimeters or until they are firm.
Cool completely. Store in a container with parchment or waxed paper between the layers and they will keep about 2 weeks...but I think they will be eaten up by then!
Note: chopped crystallized chestnuts can be added to any pound cake recipe. Flavour with a little rum or rum flavouring and fold in bits of chocolate if you like. Just a simple powdered sugar glaze topped with pieces of chestnut is all you need to decorate.