Chestnut Paste Recipe

For Asians, creating pastes from various types of beans, roots, or nuts is a familiar practice. These pastes are used in traditional desserts such as mochi in Japan, as well as mooncakes and snowskin mooncakes in China, Vietnam, and other countries. Chestnuts are no exception, thanks to their starchy texture and unique flavor, which is similar to lotus seeds, red beans, or sweet potatoes. Making chestnut paste is relatively easier compared to other beans or seeds because it requires less cooking time and has a natural sweetness. Allow me to share with you two methods for making chestnut paste using milk, honey, and sugar.

In general, these two methods are not very different. First, you need to either boil or roast the chestnuts for approximately 20 minutes, peel them, and extract the nut inside. Then, depending on your purpose, you can choose between method 1 (making paste from chestnut powder) or method 2 (making paste from whole peeled chestnuts). For instance, since I want to prepare several dishes with chestnuts, not only Korean Chestnut cookies but also Sapa Chestnut Cake. Therefore, I decided to produce a large batch of chestnut powder, using half for the cookies and the other half to make chestnut paste following method 2. However, if you only require chestnut paste as a filling for a cake, you can simply follow method 1.

Method 1: Making Chestnut Paste from Whole Peeled Chestnuts

With this method, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 300g (10.5 oz) peeled chestnuts (equivalent to around 500g (17.6 oz) unpeeled chestnuts)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) milk
  • 50g (3 tbsp) sugar

If you don’t have peeled chestnuts, roast or boil unpeeled chestnuts and peel off the brown skin. Refer to: How to cook chestnut on stove and in oven.

Peeled chestnut
Peel chestnuts then cook with milk.
  • Step 1: Cooking the peeled chestnuts with milk: In a saucepan, combine 300g of peeled chestnuts with 150ml of milk. This mixture will form the base of your chestnut paste. Place the saucepan over medium heat and allow it to simmer gently. This process will infuse the chestnuts with the rich flavor of the milk.
  • Step 2: Mashing with sugar. Once the chestnuts are soft and tender, remove them from the heat. Using a potato masher or a fork, carefully mash the cooked chestnuts until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency. Gradually add 60g of sugar to the mashed chestnuts and continue to mix until the sugar is fully incorporated. Alternatively, if you use blender, simply blend them with sugar into a paste.
Chesnut paste
Final chestnut paste

Method 2: Making Chestnut Paste From Chestnut Powder

You’ll need:

  • 300g of chestnut powder (from around 500g (17.6 oz) unpeeled chestnuts)
  • 70g (3 1/3 tbsp) honey
  • 20g (1 ½ tbsp) oil
  • 90ml (6 tbsp) milk

In case you don’t have chestnut powder, roast or boil unpeeled chestnuts and peel off the brown skin. Then, crush them all using blender, pestle and mortar, and sift through a strainer to get the fine powder. Refer to this article, section “Making Chestnut Powder”.

korean chestnut cookies
Chestnut powder
  • Step 1: Mixing chestnut powder, honey, oil, and milk. In a saucepan, combine 300g of chestnut powder, 70g of honey, 20g of oil, and 90ml of milk. This combination will form the base of your chestnut paste. Stir the ingredients well to ensure they are thoroughly mixed. Aim for a smooth and homogeneous mixture.
Making Chestnut Paste
The mixture of chestnut powder, honey, oil and milk.
  • Step 2. Cooking the paste. Place the saucepan over low heat. Cooking on low heat is important to avoid scorching the mixture. Continuously stir the mixture as it heats up. The heat will thicken the paste and enhance its flavor. Turn off the heat when the mixture reaches your desired consistency. This may take some time, so be patient. The paste should become thick and easily spreadable.
Chestnut paste filling
Chestnut paste can be easily rolled into balls.

Usage of Chestnut Paste

Chestnut paste is a versatile ingredient that can enhance a wide range of dishes. Here are some creative ways to make the most of your homemade chestnut paste:

  • Spread on Toast: Spread a thin layer of the paste on fresh bread or toast for a delightful breakfast or snack. Its creamy texture and nutty flavor pair perfectly with the simplicity of toast.
  • Filling for Pastries: Use chestnut paste as a filling for pastries and cakes. It can be folded into puff pastry, as in Sapa Chestnut Cake, used as a filling in mochi, mooncakes, snowskin mooncakes, or bread, or used to stuff crepes for a sweet and satisfying treat.
Sapa Chestnut Cake
Sapa Chestnut Cake, a special dish in Sapa, Vietnam
  • Dessert Topping: Chestnut paste makes an excellent topping for desserts. Dollop it on ice cream, yogurt, or pudding for added richness and flavor. You can also swirl it into brownie or cake batter before baking for a unique twist.
  • Savory Dishes: Don’t limit this paste to sweet creations. Stir it into sauces or soups to add depth and a nutty undertone to your savory dishes.

Storage:

Properly storing your homemade chestnut paste ensures it stays fresh and flavorful:

  • Airtight Container: Transfer the paste into a clean, airtight container or glass jar. Ensure the container is well-sealed to prevent exposure to air, which can lead to oxidation.
  • Refrigeration: For short-term storage, place the container in the refrigerator. Chestnut paste can typically be stored in the fridge for up to several weeks. The cool temperature helps maintain its quality.
  • Freezing Option: If you want to store it for an extended period, consider freezing it. Use a freezer-safe container and leave some space for expansion. The paste can be frozen for several months without losing its flavor.
  • Labeling: Don’t forget to label the containers with the date of preparation. This will help you keep track of its freshness and ensure you use it within the recommended storage period.

I hope that after reading these usage and storage guidelines, you can enjoy your homemade chestnut paste in a variety of dishes. Enjoy your culinary creations with chestnuts!

Chestnut paste filling

Chestnut Paste Recipes (2 methods)

Yield: 2 cups
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Chestnut paste is even an easier paste to make, as compared with other beans or seeds, thanks to shorter cooking time and a natural sweetness.

Ingredients

Method 1: Making Chestnut Paste from Whole Peeled Chestnuts

  • 300g (10.5 oz) peeled chestnuts (~500g (17.6 oz) unpeeled ones)
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) milk
  • 50g (3 tbsp) sugar

Method 2: Making Chestnut Paste From Chestnut Powder

  • 300g chestnut powder (from around 500g (17.6 oz) unpeeled ones)
  • 70g (3 1/3 tbsp) honey
  • 20g (1 ½ tbsp) oil
  • 90ml (6 tbsp) milk

Instructions

Method 1: Making Chestnut Paste from Whole Peeled Chestnuts

  • If you don’t have peeled chestnuts, roast or boil unpeeled chestnuts and peel the brown skin. Refer: How to cook chestnut on stove and in oven.Peeled chestnut
  • Step 1: Cooking the peeled chestnuts with milk: In a saucepan, combine 300g of peeled chestnuts with 150ml of milk. This mixture will form the base of your chestnut paste. Place the saucepan over medium heat and allow it to simmer gently. This process will infuse the chestnuts with the rich flavor of the milk.
  • Step 2: Mashing with sugar. Once the chestnuts are soft and tender, remove them from the heat. Using a potato masher or a fork, carefully mash the cooked chestnuts until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency. Gradually add 60g of sugar to the mashed chestnuts and continue to mix until the sugar is fully incorporated. Otherwise, if you use blender, simply blend them with sugar into a paste.Chestnut paste

Method 2: Making Chestnut Paste From Chestnut Powder

  • In case you don’t have chestnut powder, roast, or boil unpeeled chestnuts and peel the brown skin. Then, crush them all using blender, pestle and mortar, sift through a strainer to get the fine powder. Refer to this article, section “Making Chestnut Powder”.korean chestnut cookies
  • Step 1: Mixing chestnut powder, honey, oil, and milk. In a saucepan, combine 300g of chestnut powder, 70g of honey, 20g of oil, and 45ml of milk. This combination will form the base of your chestnut paste. Stir the ingredients well to ensure they are thoroughly mixed. You should aim for a smooth and homogeneous mixture.Making Chestnut Paste
  • Step 2. Cooking the paste. Place the saucepan over low heat. Cooking on low heat is important to avoid scorching the mixture.  Continuously stir the mixture as it heats up. The heat will thicken the paste and enhance its flavor. Turn of the heat when the mixture reaches your desired consistency. This may take some time, so be patient. The paste should become thick and easily spreadable that can be easily rolled into balls.Chestnut paste filling

Chesnut Paste folded in puff pastry (Sapa Chestnut Cake):

Sapa Chestnut Cake

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 180

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Other Chestnut Recipes

You can also try many more Chestnut Recipes:

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