Chestnuts in a Caramel and Orange Sauce

Courtesy of Beverley Sutherland Smith, Food Writer, The Age, Melbourne.

Approx. 20 chestnuts*
Milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Juice and rind of 1 large orange
1/4 cup cream
2 tablespoons brandy

*Four to five chestnuts per person is ample, as this dish is quite rich. Buy large chestnuts, the small ones will be too fiddly to coat.

  1. Cook the chestnuts, skin them carefully and place in a saucepan. Add sufficient water (to come half way up the chestnuts) and then milk so they are just covered.
  2. Leave to simmer over a low heat until quite tender. Remove carefully and let dry on some kitchen paper.
  3. Brush a flat baking tray with a flavourless oil.
  4. Put the sugar and water into a saucepan, heat slowly until the sugar has dissolved, shaking the pan. Turn up the heat and cook until the sugar has become a golden colour.
  5. Have the chestnuts on the oiled tray and either dip each chestnut into the toffee with a toothpick, or easier, take a teaspoon and pour toffee over each one so that they are coated. It doesn't matter if the top part only is sealed and the base plain. But you need to work quickly.
  6. Put the orange rind and juice into the remaining toffee. Be careful that it doesn't splatter.
  7. Next, add about a third of a cup of water. Cook again gently until you have a caramel sauce. Mix in cream and brandy and cook until it just lightly coats a spoon.

The sauce can be done hours in advance. The chestnuts need to be refrigerated in a sealed container once set, but they are best eaten within 24 hours.

  1. Warm the caramel sauce so it is tepid when serving but have the chestnuts chilled.
  2. Serve the toffee coated chestnuts with vanilla ice-cream, spooning some of the warm sauce around it and serving the chilled chestnuts alongside.

 

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