- 2 cups dried peeled chestnuts
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 6 cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon spice blend (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc.)
- Rind of 1 tangerine
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons sour cream (optional)
Okay, so this Maltese winter drink may not be the most appealing to look at – but it's gorgeously fragrant and delicious. It also gives the distinct taste of Malta at Christmas time. Also known as Imbuljuta tal-Qastan this Maltese drink is usually served after Midnight Mass and on New Year's Eve – but let's just bend that part of the tradition and drink it on a random Monday night.
If you want to impress your friends and family by making the warmest, most comforting Maltese drink, just follows these easy steps:
1. Wash and soak the chestnuts for at least 8 hours (okay, so maybe we won't be drinking it tonight...).
2. Drain and put the chestnuts in a pan, adding 4 cups of water, the cinnamon, cloves, cocoa powder, sugar, spice blend and tangerine rind cut in small pieces.
3. Bring to a boil and simmer, until the chestnuts are tender. This should take about an hour.
4. When that hour's finally past, break the chestnuts into small pieces with a large spoon – but don't crush them. Nothing worse than crumby imbuljuta.
5. Dissolve the cornstarch in a little water and add to your mix to get that lovely viscous consistency.
6. Serve hot in a cup or a bowl.
7. If you really want to be fancy – add a cinnamon stick on the edge of your cup's saucer when serving to a guest.