For those of you unfamiliar with the original, Imbuljuta is a traditional Maltese Christmas drink flavoured with chocolate, chestnuts, citrus and a medley of spices. This dessert interpretation consists of a creamy chocolate and chestnut mousse infused with flavours reminiscent of Imbuljuta sitting on rich carob-based biscuit crumb.

Prep time 2 hours

makes 6

Ingredients for the Chocolate Chestnut Mousse

Roasted chestnuts, 300g
Milk, 500ml
Granulated sugar, 115g
Vanilla essence, 1 tbsp
Salt, ½ tsp
Cinnamon sticks, 2
Mixed spice, 1 tsp
Orange, 1
Dark chocolate (70%), 115g, supplied by Good Earth
Cream, 500g

Ingredients or the Carob and Cocoa Digestive

All purpose flour, 140g
Carob flour, 80g , supplied by Good Earth
Cocoa powder, 20g
Baking powder, 1 tbsp
Icing sugar, 85g
Butter, 145g
Milk, 55g
Salt, ½ tsp

Ingredients to garnish

Butter, 100g
Cream, 20g
A bar of dark chocolate
An orange

Method

For the Chocolate Chestnut Mousse combine the milk, chestnuts, sugar, vanilla essence, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt in a medium sized pot. Using a peeler, carefully remove three strips of orange peel. Remove any white pith as this will add bitterness. Add these to the pot. Bring the pot up to the boil. Keep an eye out for boiling over. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until you can crush the chestnuts in the pot easily with the back of a spoon.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and add to the jug of a blender. Remove the cinnamon stick and orange peel from the pot. Add the hot cream and chestnut mixture into a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Scrape out into a mixing bowl and cover with cling film pressed up against the surface. Allow to come to room temperature.

Once the chestnut mixture is cool enough to handle but not too firm, grab a separate mixing bowl. Add your cream and whip to stiff peaks. Gently fold the cream mixture into the chestnut mixture in three stages until the mixture is combined. Optionally place the mousse into piping bags to make it easier to layer the finished dessert. Refrigerate until needed.

For the Carob and Cocoa Digestive preheat an oven to 180C. Prepare a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sift and combine the flour, carob flour, cocoa, icing sugar, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour with your fingers until the butter is broken into pea sized pieces. Add the milk a little bit at a time and knead gently until the dough comes together.

Flour a work surface and roll out your dough to 1cm thick. Cut into squares and lay out on the lined baking tray. Since the biscuits are going to be crushed, the shape isn’t of concern. If you want to serve some of the biscuits the recipe makes a few extra. Cut these out with little cookie cutters if you prefer. Bake for 20 minutes at 180C. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.

Crush 250g of the biscuits using a food processor or by placing them in a plastic bag and relieving some tension on them with a rolling pin. Place the butter in a small pan on the stove. Allow to cook until the butter stops bubbling and starts to brown. Once brown, add the butter to the crushed biscuits along with a splash of cream, roughly 20g. Stir to coat the crushed biscuits with butter.

In the base of 6 serving vessels press down 2 heaped tablespoons or so of the biscuit base. Pipe or spoon on equal amounts of the chocolate and chestnut mousse. You can do this while placing the mugs on a weighing scale if you want to be precise. Tap down the mugs onto a kitchen cloth to level them off and store in the fridge, wrapped for up to 5 days before serving. To finish, pull them out and allow to temper for around 20 minutes.

To garnish, use a peeler to shave on plenty of dark chocolate and top with a little bit of freshly zested orange.

The carob flour and chocolate was supplied by Good Earth.

Stephen La Rosa

Stephen La Rosa

Stephen la Rosa spent years cooking in Michelin starred restaurants across New York, San Francisco and London. He then returned to Malta to lead a team of chefs to launch a local culinary academy. He’s now dedicating his time to motivate aspiring cooks to love their time in the kitchen by teaching them chef-level techniques that will transform their cooking. To level up your cooking, check out www.stephenlarosa.co for more recipes, techniques and resources.

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