No-churn chestnut ice cream with rum, dark chocolate, and toasted walnuts

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No-churn chestnut ice cream with rum, dark chocolate, and toasted walnuts

No-churn chestnut ice cream with rum, dark chocolate, and toasted walnuts

No-churn chestnut ice cream with rum, dark chocolate, and toasted walnuts

No-churn chestnut ice cream with rum, dark chocolate, and toasted walnuts

No-churn chestnut ice cream with rum, dark chocolate, and toasted walnuts

No-churn chestnut ice cream with rum, dark chocolate, and toasted walnuts

No-churn chestnut ice cream with rum, dark chocolate, and toasted walnuts

When I was at Potentino last fall, the chestnuts had begun to fall from the trees, making it slightly hazardous for us helmet-less visitors to walk from town to town. After one particular close call, one of the volunteers who was from England told me that apparently it’s a tradition over there to play a game called ‘Conkers’ when the chestnuts are in season.

The gist of it is that you drill a hole in your chestnut/conker, and tie a string around it, then fling it repeatedly at an opponent’s chestnut until one of them breaks and the last conker standing is declared victorious. There are, truly, Championship Conker Tournaments, and whole controversies over whether or not you should be allowed to harden your conker in advance by boiling it in a vinegar solution, which led to bring-your-own conkers being banned from the British Junior Conkers Championships in 2005.

… Let’s just think about that for a minute.

And then praise the gods for having grown up in a household with television.

I don’t know about you, but I must say I prefer eating chestnuts to battling with them. An innate Canadian pacifism, perhaps?

So, in the spirit of Make-Chestnut-Love-Not-War, I wanted to come up with a recipe that brought together some of my favourite late fall/early winter flavours. I’m also an ice cream fiend, and have been wanting to try some of the no-churn recipes I’d seen floating around the internet for some time. I decided that this would be the perfect marriage!

Whipped cream is folded into a bowl of homemade chestnut spread, with a hint of vanilla and a generous splash of dark rum. It’s heaven, already, to be sure, but to make the texture more interesting, I also threw in some dark chocolate and toasted walnuts.

Set down your conkers and dig in, my friends.

No-churn chestnut ice cream with rum, dark chocolate, and toasted walnuts

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 5 hours

Yield: Roughly 1.5 L of ice cream

A decadently rich holiday treat that doesn't require an ice cream machine. Chestnut puree adapted from Happyolks and no-churn ice cream base adapted from Half Baked Harvest


    For the chestnut spread:
  • 500g chestnuts
  • 1-2 cups of water
  • 3 Tbs honey (plus more, if desired, to taste)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the ice cream:
  • 473ml carton of whipping cream
  • 300ml can sweetened condensed milk (American friends, yours are sold in 400ml -- no idea why there's a discrepancy; use the whole can either way!)
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped into very small pieces
  • 1 cup chestnut puree (see recipe above, or use a store-bought variety)
  • 2 oz dark rum


    For the chestnut puree:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Very carefully, use a sharp knife to score an 'X' on the rounded side of each chestnut. Set them flat, uncut side-down on a roasting pan and add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Roast for 20-25 minutes. Put on some happy music -- you'll want it for the peeling part coming up next.
  2. Once they're cool enough to touch, begin peeling the chestnuts. The outer shells generally come off pretty easily. (If you're having any trouble with the inner shell, set those chestnuts aside, and later, in a large pot of boiling water, drop them in in small batches, and remove after 30 seconds and rub off with a clean dish towel.) You'll lose some due to mold, or because they're just too stuck to the shell; don't worry about it.
  3. Depending on how many chestnuts you managed to salvage, set them in a pot with anywhere between 1 cup and 2 cups of water. Add the 3 Tbs of honey and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. In a food processor, add the chestnuts and their bathwater, and the vanilla. Pulse until mixture is smooth and uniform, adding a couple extra tablespoons of water or milk to thin out the texture if necessary. Taste, and add more honey if desired.
  5. For the ice cream:
  6. In a large bowl, whisk the cream, sweetened condensed milk, and 1 Tbs vanilla until you get hard peaks. (If you're letting a stand mixer do the work, now is a good time to toast your walnuts/chop your chocolate.)
  7. In another bowl, add the cup of chestnut puree. Scoop a few large spoonfuls of the whipped cream mixture into the bowl, and beat until the chestnut puree has lightened in texture. Fold this new chestnut mixture and the rum back into the whipped cream bowl.
  8. Scoop half the mixture into a freezer-safe container (I like to use a metal loaf pan). Scatter with half the walnuts and chocolate. Scoop the remaining half of the cream mixture on top, and swirl the middle layer in with a knife. Smooth the top, and cover with the remaining walnuts and chocolate.
  9. Cover, and freeze 4 hours or overnight.



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10 Responses to “No-churn chestnut ice cream with rum, dark chocolate, and toasted walnuts”

  1. Joanne January 4, 2018 at 3:49 PM #

    Hello! My whip didn’t whip. I checked halfbaked harvest and her recipe calls for whipping the cream first on its own and then adding the condensed milk – I whipped for a good 15 minutes with both and nothing. Not too sure but I was wondering if that is what you meant. Anyways going out to grab more whip.

  2. Jared @ January 8, 2016 at 6:52 PM #

    This looks incredibly yummy! Also I too believe in “make-chest-nut-love-not-war.” Peace to all!

  3. Dana January 8, 2016 at 6:44 PM #

    Oh gosh, chestnut ice cream. I can’t even begin to imagine how delectable this is.
    I love the photos, too!

  4. Lily @GastroSenses January 8, 2016 at 3:59 PM #

    Oh My!!! Ice cream AND chestnut AND rum?! My food-loving self is TAKEN. Loving your creative photography!

  5. janet @ the taste space January 8, 2016 at 3:43 PM #

    Your chestnut/conker bonking story is too funny. It reminds me of Easter when people crack hard boiled eggs together and the one without cracks wins. Another delicious recipe, for sure.

  6. Sofia | From the Land we Live on January 8, 2016 at 3:34 PM #

    Your desserts never fail to intrigue me 🙂 I’ve kinda given up on working with whole chestnuts (laziness)…but I might just go for it with the ice cream. Looks delicious, as always!

    • Alanna @ One Tough Cookie January 8, 2016 at 3:47 PM #

      Ha! To be perfectly honest, I think chestnuts might actually be one of those foods where it’s more worthwhile to skip the work and just buy a bag of the pre-roasted and peeled ones. I feel this way about so few things, but those shells are such a damn pain!

  7. Claudia | The Brick Kitchen January 3, 2016 at 1:44 PM #

    I have just recently discovered the heavenly taste and simplicity of no-churn ice cream – and don’t think I will ever look back! Love the flavour combination you have going on here, perfect for winter, and I must admit that conkers sounds like a game my younger brothers would love – battling is more of a boy thing, don’t you think? Happy new year!

  8. Julia (@Imagelicious) December 24, 2015 at 1:06 PM #

    Alanna – as always your images are truly inspirational! I am so in love with your photography!

  9. Shanna | Kiss My Bowl December 23, 2015 at 6:12 PM #

    Mmmmm Alanna! This ice cream is totally gorgeous. I love how festive it is, my grandmother has just arrived from Mississauga and she LOVES chestnut – you’ve made my life easy for what to make her for desserts!