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Chestnut Crunch (Croccanti di Marroni)

Something rather different, and not baked - this recipe was published by Giovanni Vialardi in 1854, and derives from the mountains of Cuneo and the Val di Susa in Piemonte, where chestnuts were a staple winter food. The marrone (marron, for the French) is larger, much more highly valued than the regular chestnut.


  • 2 1/4 pounds marroni
  • 1/2 cup sweet butter
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1/4 pound amaretti, crushed
  • 2 ounces raisins
  • 3 eggs, separated (save the whites for something else)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • Bread crumbs for dredging
  • Grated lemon zest
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 egg
  • Salt


  1. Boil the chestnuts until tender, then peel them, and press the nut meats through a strainer (you can also use a food mill with a fine-holed disk; were you to use a blender the texture would be different).
  2. Combine the mashed chestnuts, cinnamon, butter, a half cup of sugar, cream, amaretti, three yolks, the raisins and a pinch of salt together in a bowl; the mixture will be stiff. Spread it on your work surface to a thickness of about 3/4 of an inch (2 cm) and let it cool.
  3. In the meantime, grate the zest of a lemon and mix it into the remaining sugar.
  4. Beat the remaining egg, and heat the oil for frying.
  5. Cut the chestnut mixture into 1-inch x 1-inch diamonds, roll them in the bread crumbs, dredge them in the egg, roll them again the bread crumbs, and fry them until golden brown.
  6. Drain the pastries on absorbent paper and dust them with the sugar and lemon zest mixture.

Posted by FootsieBear at Recipe Goldmine 10/2/2001 3:13 pm.