Chestnut Meringue Tarts with Crème de Marrons from Collobrières

Last Autumn, while we were staying in Grenoble we took a trip down to Provence to visit an old friend. She was now living an a plus beau village, picturesque Collobrieres. She gifted me a jar of Creme de Marrons {sweet chestnut puree} which had been made in the town. It has been travelling around with me ever since while I waited for some baking inspiration. I finally used it this week to make these cute little tarts.

Chestnut Meringue Tarts

These are really quite easy, more of an assembly job than anything. I completely cheated and used ready-made, ready to roll sweet shortcrust pastry, partly due to the fact that I had picked up a box nearing its use by date going cheap at the supermarket. It made this recipe a doddle. I did make the meringues but they just took moments to whip up, the Aga made cooking them a breeze, especially as I could get on baking the tarts in the roasting oven at the same time.

You can often find Creme de Marrons in supermarkets and delicatessens, particularly around Christmas time.

for the meringue tops

baking/cookie sheet lined with baking parchment

oven 140 C / gas 1

  • 2 free-range egg whites
  • 120 g caster sugar

In a clean bowl beat the egg whites with an electric mixer into stiff peaks. Sprinkle in half the sugar, continue beating until the egg has dissolved it then sprinkle in the rest. Beat until the whites turn glossy. Try not to over beat them.

Pop the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a wide nozzle and pipe 12 meringue tops onto the baking sheet. Try to size them to fit the circumference of the holes in your bun tin, you don’t need to be terribly exact, just not so big they’ll hang over the edges of your tarts.

Bake for about an hour, until they have started to colour a little and feel firm and dry. Leave them to dry out completely if you can by leaving them in the oven, with it switched off and the door left slightly ajar. I baked mine in the simmering oven of an Aga, then left them in there with the door ajar to dry out.

for the tarts

12 hole shallow bun tin, round cutter

oven 180 C / gas 4

  • 1 sheet ready to roll all butter sweet shortcrust pastry or make your own
  • 24 heaped teaspoons of sweetened chestnut puree {creme de marrons}

Cut 12 rounds out of your pastry and line the bun tin with them. Use your knuckles to gently push the pastry to fit the moulds. Spoon in 2 heaped teaspoons of the creme de marron into each of the tarts. Essentially you are making chestnut ‘jam’ tarts.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until the pastry turns golden, allow to cool completely.

for the mascarpone cream

  • 100 g mascarpone
  • 200 ml whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 – 2 tbsp icing sugar

Whip the cream in a large bowl until almost stiff. In a smaller bowl, gently stir the vanilla into the mascarpone to loosen it. Add it to the whipped cream along with a tablespoon of the icing sugar. Fold it all together, taste it and see if it’s sweet enough. Add another tablespoon of icing sugar if it needs it.

Transfer the mascarpone cream into an icing bag and pipe it into circles onto your, now cooled, chestnut tarts. Keep within the pastry rim.

Top each tart with a meringue. You can serve them as they are, or drizzle melted dark chocolate over them.

I think these tasted even better the next day. I kept them in the fridge overnight then brought them out in the morning to bring them back to room temperature. Delicious.

Have you ever brought back some random local produce from your travels then wondered what to make with it?

18 Responses

  1. owenskc says:

    Hi,

    My name is KC Owens, I’m a college student and I love to travel! While cruising the Internet, I found your site and really enjoyed reading your posts. I have been to countries all over Europe with just my backpack and a camera. Since I am a college student and I have significant bills, it can be difficult to find ways to travel the world. However, I have done this several times, with less than ten pounds of luggage and while on a college dime!

    I was hoping that you would allow me to write a post for your site to share my tips and tricks with your readers. I put a lot of time into my traveling, it is my biggest passion and I would love to inspire others by sharing my stories, mistakes and triumphs. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best,

    KC Owens

  2. Those tarts are seriously beautiful – they’d really dress up a party nicely. I love the photos of the water along the French Riviera. Never heard of Port Grimaud before – looks like Venice.

  3. Lovely photos of the French Rivera! I’ll love to take a trip there! These chestnuts meringue tarts look great! I love chestnut desserts!

  4. kerrycooks says:

    Wow Rachel! These tarts look ridiculously good and your photos are just wonderful too! Well done

  5. Sophie33 says:

    When we lived in Brussels for 10 years, you could also find the sweetned chestnut purée in the best chocolatiers & I am in love with it! Your lovely creations look utterly fabulous, tasty & divine too! Great trip & excellent pics too! Lucky you!

  6. roo365 says:

    Ooww, oowww, oowwww, look at those! Look gorgeous, but must taste even better!

  7. They look delicious and the photos are making me want to up sticks and explore the South of France!

  8. Jorie says:

    Last time I was in Europe, we only had a chance to see Paris and not the French Riviera or the countryside (except while hurtling through on a train). My boyfriend and I were just tossing around the idea of a return trip to Europe, and the French countryside is high on our list. It’s just beautiful. Love these pictures.

    • Yep, get ya’selves on a plane and get over there, you’ll be amazed! Wonderful to explore. I’m afraid I have a swiss post up my sleeve {maybe this week or next} so you might have to add another week onto that trip!

  9. kris says:

    this is gorgeous and has inspired me!

  10. Oh oh oh! This is making me miss French patisseries so much! Thank you for jolting me back to the year I lived in France and saved centimes for treats such as these. (:

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