Wasanbon-to sugar (fine refined Japanese sugar used for confectionery)
about 80 g
Wash the chestnuts to remove dirt. Simmer over medium heat for 30-40 minutes.
Cut the chestnuts in half with a knife. Scoop out the insides with a spoon, and mash. You can pass the chestnuts through a sieve, but I think it's a waste to lose the bits of chestnut that get stuck.
Put the mashed chestnuts in a pan over very low heat, and add the salt and the sugar little by little while stirring constantly to evaporate excess moisture and to mix in the sugar. Please taste it and adjust the amount of sugar.
Let it cool down. Divide the mixture into chestnut-sized portions, and wrap each portion in a tightly wrung kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
Unwrap the morsels slowly, and they're done.
I used this wasanbon-to sugar. As little as 50 grams in this recipe makes it delicious. When you taste the chestnut paste, the key is to make it bit on the sweet side.
To give as gifts, wrap each portion in parchment paper. This makes keeps them from falling apart easily and you can eat them on the opened paper.
Story Behind this Recipe
It's fall. I was waiting for this season to come. I wanted to recreate the joy I felt when I had the kuri kinton from Ebisu-ya, a famous traditional confectionery store. I used to be able to afford it, but then the bubble economy burst... These homemade ones will keep for about 3 days.
When I boiled the chestnuts, they were a little watery. They taste better and more floury if steamed. Just mash up the chestnuts; you can enjoy the texture of the chestnuts this way. If you can't get wasanbon-to sugar, use powdered sugar or beet sugar. Adjust the sweetness depending on how sweet the chestnuts are.