No, you’re not mistaken, this recipe takes 7 DAYS, and they’re officially called “MARRONS GLACES” . . . even though “mine” resemble small stones and seashells of different sizes found somewhere out there in nature (and not like the amber-colored and glittering ones we can buy) . . . BUT, (and please remember this because it’s very important) : for your 1st attempt & experiment, it doesn’t matter if they’re not the most beautiful, it doesn’t matter if they’re not the most tender, what’s important is that you made them yourself and that next year, they’ll be even better !
It's normal. Why do you think they’re sold for at least 2€ a piece when they’re industrially made and up to 4€ each when they’re hand-made ?! Good things require a lot of effort from our "talented professional candying confectioners". . . THANKS SO MUCH but in principle, I still prefer to do it myself with my own little hands even if they are less pretty (and darker because I never use white sugar), but they’re delicious and almost as tender ... ha ha, ha).
I don’t have any family stories to tell you about chestnuts because it's a mostly southern French and northern Italian tradition, not Greek nor Canadian, even if in Greek culinary tradition, we prepare a lot of candied fruits (and even nuts) in syrup. But normally, we roast them in the oven or on burning embers, we peel them, we eat them, like those we buy in the street in winter, when we have a little hunger pang and want to warm our hands as we’re peeling them. The SIMPLICITY of TASTE & the PRACTICAL ASPECTS of WARMTH.
The recipe in itself isn’t difficult, apart from the initial double peeling and preparing of the chestnuts (at least 1 to 2 hours) before even thinking about starting to candy them. Then a few minutes a day adding a little extra sugar each time by reheating the syrup and on the last day, a few more hours to heat them up again, dry, glaze and dry them again.
Tell yourself it will take you 7 days and try to start everything on the weekend and finish it on the next weekend. And do not wait until the last week before the arrival of the holidays because you will have other fish to fry - turkeys or legs of lamb to roast, a foie gras to prepare (cooked or salt-cured), holidays yule logs to prepare, etc ... and don’t you worry because some of these recipes will be published in the weeks to come because DECEMBER will be the month of holiday feast recipes !!!
Okay, I have to be honest. I tried this with frozen peeled chestnuts and pre-cooked chestnuts in jars (with and without liquid) and the results are not the same. The smaller peeled and frozen chestnuts are pretty good and quite time-saving but if you can USE FRESH CHESTNUTS. It’s a lot of work to peel and prepare them but so much better and rewarding.
Try to choose your chestnuts yourself. Beautiful big specimens (but if they are of different sizes, do not worry friends, you will use the smaller ones that still remained whole to crown your cakes and desserts and the broken ones and little bits and the syrup can be included in other sweet preparations.
I won’t go into all the minute details or ruin your life by complicating things with too many thermometers and science. I’ll stay as simple as possible and anyways, it’ll be fun (and maybe even make a few people giggle).
Fortunately, we only need to do ALL THIS only once a year ! . . . :)