I'm supposed to make a cake this week that requires "sweetened chestnut spread with vanilla," or creme de marrons, as it is called in France. I'm pretty sure that is unattainable where I live, and I'd rather not bother ordering it. I'm really unfamiliar with this ingredient--what might make a good substitute? Do you think almond paste, or canned almond filling might work?
I just googled it and saw that World Market carries it sometimes...they have a lot of food items there but I've never been looking for that specifically (well, I have looked for chestnut butter for a recipe but since I don't speak French if all the can said was creme de marrons I wouldn't have known what it was). I also read that they sell cans of pureed chestnut at Whole Foods.
Thanks TexasRose--but I've got no World Market or Whole Foods nearby. I get the sense that creme de marrons is different from chestnut butter or puree, though--I am imagining it as something more like Nutella maybe but I don't really know.
I found a recipe for it too if that would help:
1-1/2 pounds chestnuts
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup heavy cream whipped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Remove the outer and the inner skins of the chestnuts and boil until soft with just enough milk to cover. Run through a sieve. Combine the sugar and water and cook for about 10 minutes. Mix the chestnut purée and the sugar syrup and, when cool, add the vanilla and the whipped cream.
I was thinking something like Nutella too but there's no chocolate in it. When I was looking for chestnut butter, I ended up using Nutella instead because I couldn't find any chestnuts. It was very yummy...it was a recipe for cream cheese pastry cups with chestnut filling and I just turned it into cream cheese pastry cups with Nutella filling
Addendum to Texas_Rose's post:
You should be able to find fresh chestnuts in the produce section of your grocery store (I know Publix carries them).