This section is from the book "The Epicurean", by Charles Ranhofer. Also available from Amazon: The Epicurean, a Complete Treatise of Analytical and Practical Studies on the Culinary Art.
Skin half a pound of raw chestnuts, then grate them; pound three ounces of almonds with four ounces of powdered vanilla sugar (No. 3165). Beat in a bowl four ounces of fresh butter, mixing into it six or seven egg-yolks, and when the preparation is frothy add the chestnuts, sugar and almonds, then five or six beaten whites. Pour all this into a buttered souffle pan 9Fig. 182) and cook it for three-quarters of an hour in a slack oven; glaze over with sugar before removing and serve without delay.
Select four pounds of fine, sound chestnuts; slit them on one side and put them to roast in a large perforated pan; cover and toss at times until done. They may also be cooked by placing them on a baking sheet and then in a hot oven to roast without blackening. Skin them, removing both the skins, and picking out twenty of the finest, pound the others to a fine paste. Add. while continuing to pound, two ounces of vanilla sugar and a little raw cream. Pass this preparation through a sieve and put it into a saucepan, beating into it six egg-yolks, then dry over the fire while stirring. Pour this on a baking sheet and leave till cold, then divide it into parts and of each one make an inch and a quarter diameter ball; in the center of each insert one of the roasted chestnuts split in two; mold the croquettes to the shape of a chestnut, dip them in beaten eggs, roll in white bread-crumbs and fry in very hot clear frying fat; when done, drain and sponge, besprinkle with vanilla sugar and dress on a napkin.
Cook a pound of skinned chestnuts in water with a quarter of a vanilla bean, then rub them through a sieve into a vessel, and add six whole beaten eggs and four yolks, also half a pound of sugar; dilute with a pint of raw milk, mix well, and pass the whole through a sieve. Pour into the bottom of a plain timbale mold one gill of sugar cooked to caramel: when cold butter the sides of the mold, and fill it. up with the chestnut preparation; set the mold into a saucepan with hot water to half its height, leave it on the fire, and just when it reaches the boiling point cover and keep it cooking slowly, or else place it in a slack oven to maintain the liquid at the same temperature without boiling for fifty to sixty minutes, or until the preparation is firm to the touch in the center- Invert the cream on a dish, and cover it with the caramel sugar found on the bottom of the mold.
Shell a few dozen sound chestnuts; scald them in order to remove the inner skin, then cook them very slowly in milk containing a piece of vanilla bean. When done all the liquid ought to be evaporated. Rub them through a sieve to make a puree. Put this puree into a saucepan with half its weight of sugar; work .the paste on a slow fire until it becomes consistent and detaches from the saucepan; leave it till partly cold, then run a little of it at a time through a coarse sieve, pressing it down with a large spoon so that it falls like vermicelli; lift it up with a palette, dress it in a circle on the bottom of a dish and in the center build a pyramid of whipped cream, sweetened and flavored with vanilla.
Remove the shells from several dozen large chestnuts, then scald so to be able to peel off the red skins: put them into a buttered flat saucepan, salt and moisten to their height with good broth (No. 194a); boil the liquid and withdraw the saucepan to a slower fire to have the chestnuts cook while remaining whole. When tender the moisture should be entirely reduced; glaze with a brush before serving.