Chestnut Pancakes and Maple-Pecan Syrup


By now, many of us are listening to Christmas music in our cars, at work, and in the comfort of our homes.  One of the most well-known Christmas songs and a favorite among many is “The Christmas Song”, or subtitled “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open-Fire”. You know…

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yule-tide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos…

This song was written in 1944, and while the lyrics play out for many of us of caroling and dressing up warm,  there is one line that is hard to relate to. “Chestnut roasting on an open fire.” We didn’t exactly roast nuts at our house during Christmas. For over 25 years I have never tasted a roasted chestnut until recently my curiosity got the best of me.

The Christmas Chestnut

Long ago, during the months of November and December, pushcarts full of a variety of nuts filled the streets of cities. Seasonal nuts were precious and looked upon as a ‘treat’ or a luxury to have with meals. People fled to these pushcarts to buy a bag of nuts and saved them to be eaten only on Christmas.

The most popular nut was often the prized chestnut.

Chestnuts were typically served after the Christmas dinner as the final course. Often times, the nut was roasted in an open fire so the sweet aroma filled the house. The roasted nut would then be served with a fig or orange for a special Christmas dessert.

Nutrient Composition

Chestnuts are rather unique in their macronutrient make-up. They are high in carbohydrates and very low in fat, unlike all other nuts. In 100 grams of chestnuts you’ll find 53 grams of carbohydrates. Of those 53 grams, 11 come from simple sugars, 5 from fiber and the remaining 37 grams is starch. That makes them slightly sweet, especially when roasted.

Each nut is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Take vitamin C for example, every 100 grams of chestnuts provides 43 mg of vitamin C (72 % of DRI).

Many cultures around the world eat chestnuts as part of their daily diet since their starchy composition is similar to that of corn, plantain, and sweet potato. The nut can even be turned into flour and used for baking. After roasting, the nut is often added to stuffing and salads to embellish the taste.

Chestnut Pancakes and Maple Pecan Syrup


A favorite of mine is using roasted chestnuts to make Christmas pancakes. These pancakes will keep the family full throughout the morning while presents are being unwrapped and friends and family come over to visit.

Pancakes

2 cups roasted chestnuts
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup almond milk
3 tablespoon maple syrup, or 1 teaspoon liquid stevia

Maple Pecan Syrup

3/4 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

In a blender combine all the pancake ingredients. Puree until the batter is smooth and thick.

On a hot non-stick griddle, measure out 1/4 cup of pancake batter per pancake. Cook each pancake for 2-3 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, wash out the blender and make the maple pecan syrup.

In the blender, combine all the maple syrup ingredients and pulse several times until desired texture is reached. Transfer the syrup to a saucepan and gently warm up the syrup over medium-heat.

Drizzle the warm syrup over the pancakes and enjoy.

Will you be eating chestnuts this year?

About Hannah

Hannah Willette is a mother of two who loves to feed her family nutritious, whole food. Her love of cooking and organic gardening led her to create an online collection of deliciously simple recipes at www.thewholekitchen.com. If she is not in the kitchen, you can find her enjoying the outdoors with her family.