The sweet, comforting scent of roasting chestnuts is an instant pick-me-up on a cold evening. Want to roast them at home for the holidays? Here's how.
Chestnut season runs from early October through late December. Look for healthy, unwrinkled shells and a glossy brown surface. Dingy or mottled shells may indicate mold, and small pinholes likely indicate that worms have been drilling; avoid such nuts. Fresh chestnuts are firm to the touch and heavy in the hand, with no space between the shell and the meat of the nut inside.
First, using a sharp knife, make an incision about 1/8-inch deep through each chestnut shell, just into the flesh of the nut, and work your way almost around its circumference.
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How to Roast Chestnuts
After slitting the shells, transfer the chestnuts to a chestnut roasting pan or a rimmed baking pan, and roast them in a 350-degree oven for about 35 minutes.
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How to Peel Chestnuts
While the chestnuts are hot, remove and discard each shell and the papery skin.
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Warm chestnuts are delicious by themselves, but you can also use them in these decadent holiday desserts and hearty soups:
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Chestnuts are also delicious used raw or in chestnut cream for desserts. This is one of our favorite chestnut dessert recipes, a rich, sweet chestnut pie from pastry chef Sandro Micheli.
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