Chestnut Pie V, GF
I was going to just roast the chestnuts and have them available for my guests at Friendsgiving but, since no one was bringing a vegan dessert, I whipped this up. It was very good. The crust is definitely unique. It has a sandy quality and a bit of a crunch where there is otherwise none. This is not a project for anyone looking for something easy to make unless you have a pre made chestnut puree.
mixing bowls (2 medium)
spatula or ladle
chinois--ideally (bowl strainer will work with a little finesse)
Vitamix--(pretty much a necessity in this recipe)
grinder or food processor
for the chestnut puree:
3 small to medium Mongolian pears (a green or bosc pear will work here)
1 pint of chestnuts raw, in shell
1/3 c pure maple syrup (or more if you desire)
cinnamon, clove, cardamom to taste
coconut cream, unsweetened from a can
1 T gin or other liquor of choice (rum, calvados, cassis, brandy...)
pinch kosher salt
for the crust:
1/3 c unrefined coconut oil, melted, not hot
2/3 c almond flour
2/3 c raw pecan halves
salt, cinnamon and cardamom to taste
1/3 c raw cane sugar
for the topping:
cinnamon and cardamom
raw cane sugar (I used about 1-2 tablespoons, it is really a matter of the fruit and your preference)
2 raw cranberries
5 ground cherries
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut the chestnuts in half horizontally. Submerse the chestnuts in the water for 3 minutes or so until the skins and shells just slide right off. Empty the pot. Add the cleaned nuts to a roasting pan with a bit of salt. Roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 or 20 minutes stirring and checking throughout. Once nice and roasted, add to the base of the blender with just enough water to blend. Once a smooth consistency develops, pass the puree through a chinois or bowl strainer back into the now empty and dry pot. Over medium heat add the remaining ingredients tasting and adjusting to your liking. Keep what is strained out for cereal, bake a chestnut cake or muffins or add some maple and eat it as is or on toast, pancakes or waffles. Cover the puree with plastic and refrigerate.
In a mixing bowl, combine crust ingredients with your fingers. Press into the pie pan ensuring an even layer and freeze while your oven preheats to 275. Bake crust for about 30 minutes. Turn the oven up and bake for 6-10 more minutes at 350. You will notice a light browning and a toasted nut aroma.
While the crust is cooling, slice the pears on the mandolin into a saucepan. Add a bit of cinnamon, cardamom, a small amount of salt, and a couple of tablespoons of water. Steam over low heat until the pears just barely begin to take on a cooked sweetness. Refrigerate immediately.
Once the crust is at least room temperature, spread the chestnut puree in an even layer over the crust. Layer the pears and garnish with other fruits, a sprinkling of spices and perhaps a drizzle of molasses. Enjoy!!