Gesztenyepüré (Chestnut Purée)

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack frost nipping at your nose.” The man who penned those song lyrics could very well have been Hungarian. This time of year in Magyarland, noses certainly get nipped, and you’ll see lots of chestnuts roasting on open fires – especially at the Christmas markets. Chestnut purée, or gesztenyepüré, is a wildly popular wintertime dessert over here. In fact, it’s said that a winter without snow is possible in Hungary, but a winter without gesztenyepüré is inconceivable.

Chestnuts1Before moving to Budapest, chestnuts for me were just something you sang about at Christmastime. I don’t think I’d ever tasted one. But now, I’m hooked on Gesztenyepüré. I’m sure one big reason is that it’s usually served with mountains of whipped cream. I take that back – mountain ranges of whipped cream. I buy my gesztenyepüré prepackaged in the frozen food section. I hear making your own is pretty time consuming. All those chestnuts have to be peeled! But if you’re ambitious and would like to try, here are the recipes for both the mixture and the purée. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Gesztenyepüré Hagyományos Módon (Traditional Chestnut Mixture)

Ingredients: 2 1/4 lbs/1 kg chestnuts; 1 3/4 cups/200 g confectioners’ sugar; 4 1/4 cups/1 liter milk; 1 vanilla bean; 1-2 tbsp rum

Chestnuts6Directions: Cook the chestnuts for a few minutes in boiling water, then pour off the water and drain. Peel the chestnuts. Dissolve the sugar in the milk, add the vanilla bean and cook the chestnuts in it until soft. Remove the chestnuts, pass them through a sieve, and beat in the room until smooth. Cream can be added if desired. The mixture can now be used to make the following dessert:

Gesztenyepüré masszából (Chestnut puree made from chestnut mixture)

Chestnuts3Ingredients: 1 1/4-1 1/2/300-400 ml whipping cream; a generaous pound/500 g chestnut mixture (store bought or from the recipe above); 1-2 tsp rum, mum extract, ore milk

Diriections: Whip the cream until stiff. Transfer half of it to a large, glass bowl or divide it between 5 or 6 dessert dishes. Force the chestnut mixture, which has been enriched with rum or milk, through a potato press, then spoon it over the whipped cream and decorate by piping the remaining cream into resettes. The dessert is Chestnuts4often decorated with sour cherries.

Do you have a favorite gesztenyepüré memory? If so, please share.



6 thoughts on “Gesztenyepüré (Chestnut Purée)

  1. If the gesztenyepüré is frozen you can make it ready with the cheese grater (with the smallest holes) in 30 seconds. Forget the potato press! It’s no problem if it is frozen, you can eat the gesztenyepüré immediately. The best one has 3 layers: whipped cream-chestnut purée-whipped cream. Enjoy!

  2. Thanks for the chestnut mixture recipe. I’ve never made it by myself. This year I try to make my own szaloncukor and I’ll try this chestnut recipe too. To be honest, I don’t like roasted chestnut. For me its taste is like soap, but most people like it, so it seems I’m wrong.

  3. You can add some beans as well. I mean cooked beans, mashed. Believe me. It is not necessary, but tastes good and is very common in pastry shops. Of course the sugar, the vanilla, the rum and all the stuff will blend the bean puree nicely into the chestnut puree. Another good ingredient is ground nutmeg. Just a pinch. Jó étvágyat!

  4. For me and my family gesztenyepure is a delicacy equaling a chocolate cake. My mother would prepare it when she wanted to treat someone in a special way. However, since I moved to the Wtates, she had to realize that serving gesztenyepure almost equals an insult for an American. She tried to treat my husband-to- be to this very special dessert, but the response was less than luke warm. She didn’t give up. Tried it on my future brother-in-law, without success. Now she just bakes dobos torta. By the way, I have to have roasted chestnuts every winter even if only a quarter of the nuts turn out to be edible.

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