In Malta, a Christmas speciality is the Imbuljuta tal-Qastan, or sweet chestnut soup, a traditional drink served after Midnight Mass or on New Year’s Eve, filling the air with a spicy aroma of chocolate and citrus.
- 250 g dried chestnuts
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2–3 tbsp sugar
- mandarin peel
- ¼ tsp mixed spice
- 12 whole cloves
- 500 ml water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time 24 hours
Soak chestnuts in water overnight or for 24 hours.
In a pot, add the chestnuts, cocoa powder, sugar, mandarin peel, mixed spice and cloves. Top with the water, cover and cook over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for approx. 45 minutes or until the chestnuts are cooked. In the last few minutes of cooking, add a few squares of dark chocolate and liqueur of your choice.
Remove the cloves. Serve hot or warm as a drink or dessert.