Caramel chestnut pie

Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. And I’m the mother of children who forget to buy flour when you send them down to the shop with family friends so you can whip up a nice little dessert for a hungry hoard while you’re away on a weekend retreat. Blame iphones, blame music blaring in headphones, blame the bliss of a teenager who is walking independent of his overprotective mother with a bunch of country boys who live by different rules. Blame whatever you like, I still didn’t get any flour.

Together with that little issue, I had no cake tins or baking trays. The kids had eaten half the apples I needed to make an apple pie, and I’d been told we needed 10 of the 12 eggs for breakfast the next morning. But I eat obstacles for breakfast (and pie for dessert).

Ingredients:

  • 100g salted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 cups roasted, peeled chestnuts (see this page for instructions, or buy them in a tin)
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry*
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • more caster sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 180℃. Place pastry in a lined tin, and roll over the edge pinching all around, then blind bake for 10 minutes.

Over a medium heat in a small saucepan, melt the sugar with the butter and vanilla, whisking every now and then, until caramel is amber in colour. Pour into the pastry and spread out evenly.

Blend 1/2 of the chestnuts with the cream and egg yolks (in a standing blender so that it is a smooth consistency), then pour over caramel layer. Halve each remaining chestnut and arrange over the creamy mix, then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until the cream firms and pastry is golden brown and puffy (about 25 minutes)

Serve warm with pecan butter ice cream.

*Yes, it was store-bought! Fortunately I had packed a fancy French pastry roll in our going-away-pack. Love to travel with my own pastry…

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