- 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 any random 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.