This dessert is mounded into the shape of a mountain and covered with whipped cream. Twenty ounces of frozen chestnuts can be substituted for two pounds of fresh.


  • 2 pounds fresh chestnuts in shells

  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt

  • 3 ½ cups milk

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped

  • 3 tablespoons light rum

  • 1 quart heavy cream

  • ¼ cup cocoa powder, for dusting


  1. Using a small paring knife, cut an X into one side of each chestnut. Fill a saucepan with water; add chestnuts and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove 2 or 3 at a time from water; remove the outer shells. Peel and scrape off inner skins.

  2. Combine nuts, milk, 3/4 cup sugar, butter, and vanilla bean and scrapings in a saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until tender and falling apart, 30 to 35 minutes. Drain, reserving milk. Remove vanilla bean; set nuts aside to cool.

  3. Pass chestnuts through a food mill into a bowl. Stir in rum and 5 to 6 tablespoons of the reserved milk until well combined. Place 1/3 cup of chestnut mixture in a potato ricer fitted with large hole blade. Press and squeeze strands of the mixture into bowls. It should look like a small mound of spaghetti. Repeat with remaining mixture.

  4. Whip cream with remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe out cream covering the exposed surface. Dust with cocoa, and serve.

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