In the kitchen with: PieTisserie’s chestnut cream pie

I’m so happy to be able to feature a video this week on the column, just in time for Christmas. Since this is our last recipe post for the year, I wanted something extra special that would stay up for a bit that you can use for New Year’s as well. The video features Jaynelle St. Jean, founder of San Francisco pie business PieTisserie, making her favorite chestnut cream pie It was produced by documentary filmmaker Sara Washington. I am often excited about the content on the In the Kitchen With column, but this one is extra exciting for me and I hope you’ll love it as much as I do! Happy Holidays and see you in 2014! -Kristina

About Jaynelle: Jaynelle St. Jean is a native Californian. She learned to bake in high school and it remained just a hobby until four years ago. “I never thought I would be a professional baker,” she admits. Then, four years ago, she found herself giving away free slices of pie out of a window in her mother’s home in San Francisco. After years of working journalism she decided it was time for a change and thus PieTisserie was born. Since that time Pietisserie has racked up a loving and loyal fan base in the Bay Area and, in the spring of 2014, Jaynelle will be opening her very first permanent location.

About Sara: Sara Washington is a documentary filmmaker and photographer living in Stockton, California. Her forthcoming documentary projects explore the lives of objects and the individuals and communities they live with. She is a recent graduate of the Documentary Media Studies program at The New School. Before that she earned her BA in Community Studies from UC Santa Cruz.

500-still 2

Click through for Jaynelle’s chestnut cream pie recipe (after the jump)!







  • 1 – 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1/4 cup ice water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

For the crust:

Blend the flour and salt in a large bowl. Grate in half of the butter using a cheese grater, and then toss together with 2 forks so the butter coats the flour. Repeat with the remaining butter. Sprinkle half of the ice water over and stir with a fork. Press the dough together using your hands and set to the side any parts that form a ball. Repeat, adding the remaining water to the dry sections of the butter and flour mixture. Add just enough water so that the dough comes together when pressed firmly.

Form the dough into a ball. Flatten into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Dust a work surface, the dough and a rolling pin lightly with flour. Begin rolling and take care to release the dough from the surface a few times by picking it up and turning it over, applying a light dust of flour each time. Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Place into a pie dish and fold the edges under to create the edge of the crust.

Blind bake the piecrust by filling a parchment-lined pie shell with dry beans or rice. Place it into the oven on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes or until thoroughly cooked on the bottom. Add the toffee after removing the paper.


  • ½ cup of butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 oz of bittersweet chocolate bits

Make the toffee:

Melt butter in a small sauce pan, and then add the sugar and salt. Combine the ingredients. At a medium high heat, slowly and constantly whisk. Watch for browning and thickening. Pour directly into the bottom of the blind baked pie shell. Immediately sprinkle chocolate on hot toffee so it melts before setting.


  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup chestnut puree


Make filling:

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and yolks in a 3-quart heavy saucepan until combined well, then add milk in a stream, whisking. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking, 1 minute.

Force filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, then whisk in chestnut puree and butter. Cover surface of filling with a buttered round of wax paper and cool completely, about 2 hours.

Spoon filling into a cooled crust and chill pie, loosely covered.




  • 2 cups of roasted and peeled chestnuts
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ¼ cup of milk


Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend until smoot

Top with fresh whipped cream and sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

Why Jaynelle loves this pie:

We all know the holiday song that starts, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” but few of us eat them. I discovered chestnuts digging through the pantry of French friends. It turns out that their chestnut spread and virtually every chestnut product you can find comes from France. I like this as a holiday pie because it is quintessential, but not overdone.

Portrait of Sara Washington






  1. CM says:

    Yes! This will be going on the xmas menu!


  2. jamie levine says:

    Great video! I’m a chestnut fanatic but have yet to see a cream pie with them….brilliant.

  3. Tommy says:

    Is she married?

  4. LST says:

    Note that I couldn’t get the toffee recipe to work as is. I needed to add milk – otherwise, a great recipe.


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.