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Thursday, September 6, 2012


Boiled Chestnuts
Photo by: Lord-Williams
L. Castaneus sative (Spanish chestnut tree), Ar. qaštel, OE chestens, chistenis, chasteyns, Eng. chestnut. In Spain the chestnut is the herald of fall and love (for those who like autumn). As one of the least valued of nuts, “it is not worth a chestnut,” says the Spanish proverb but it is the most celebrated nut and the symbol of friendship. Since the 10th C, at least, they have been sold in the markets of León. In Logroño, those that are sold peeled and dried are called pilongas. They were dried and ground to make bread. During Lent, the oil was used to substitute lard. See magosto. [Castro. Alimentación.1996:237:297; Curye. 1985:177; ES: “En otoño.” Apr 22, 02; ES: Herbs. Oct 8, 02; Gázquez. Gastronomía. 2000:57:142; Sánchez-Albornoz. 2000: 34; and Villena/Calero. 2002:23a]



Charoset Truffle Paste
The Dark Color - Symbolic of the Passover
Photo by: Lord-Williams
1 c chopped almonds
2 apples cored, and finely diced
12 chopped dates
1/3 c raisins (seeds removed)
24 chestnuts, cooked, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
½ c powdered sugar
¼ c white vinegar


Boil water and place the almonds in that. Remove from heat and let sit 3.5 minutes. Peel the almonds. Fry them in a olive oil. When gold brown place them in paper towels to remove as much oil as possible.

 Sweet and Bitter - Charoset Truffles
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Coarsely grind apples, almonds, dates, raisins, and chestnuts in a food processor. Place the mixture in a large frying pan to spread paste out. Simmer, turning and spreading the paste out until it is thick enough to make balls. Add cinnamon and 1 tbsp sugar and mix well. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

Remove the apple mixture and make small balls with it. Refrigerate again for 1 hour or in an air tight container up to one week.

To serve: Roll the balls in the rest of the sugar and put them on a plate. Sprinkle vinegar [3] over them. Let them sit until the vinegar is absorbed.

[1] Charoset (food obtained from fruits and nuts). It symbolizes the clay Jewish slaves mixed in mortars in Egypt to make bricks when building store houses and other edifications for pharaohs' supplies in Ancient Egypt. This is prepared to celebrate the Passover in particular but can be eaten at other times of year.
[2] Gitlitz, David M. and Linda Kay Davidson. A Drizzle of Honey, The Life and Recipes of Spain’s Secret Jews, St. Martin’s Press. 1999:301.
[3] To recall the bitterness of slavery and to remind one that building can be based on sweetness and bitterness. 


  1. Tremble, French people! here you have the most daring and tasty alternative to marron glacés!!!
    So rich a recipe should make a pretty dessert for special ocasions in late autumn-winter. I am not American but the ingredients remind me of Thanks-Giving turkey. So these truffles could very well end a typical American Thanksgiving as well as a typical Spanish Christmas banquet. Please do not think about calories (not so much sugar after all)and enjoy!

  2. I gave these way like chocolates. My Chilean friends were afraid to sprinkle vinegar on them! - They don't get it. These recipes add a different twist to what we normally eat and the majority are a very tasty switch from what we are used to. When serving them, I give my guests one without vinegar and then one with. You'd be amazed at how many come back for the vinegar!
    Perhaps I stand to be corrected but the only thing that I see fattening is the sugar added just before serving. I would think that these have less calories than marron glacés or chocolates.