Last week Professor DracheBlume gave an extra credit assignment of bringing recipes using the fruit or nut of two wand woods Chestnut and Cherry. She has chosen to share the ones she got with The Owl Post. Perhaps it’s time to bug the house elves for one of them.
Creamy Chestnut Soup with Rosemary Garlic Croutons
2 TBSP butter or olive oil
1 stalk celery
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup white wine or sherry
1 1/2 lbs. chestnuts, roasted and shelled
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/8th tsp. ground cloves
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups milk plus more as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter or oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the celery, shallot, and garlic – saute 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until softened.
Stir in the wine, chestnuts, and spices, then add the vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer and let cook 20-30 minutes, or until the chestnuts have softened.
Add the milk and puree until smooth. Add more milk, or water, to thin the soup to desired consistency.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with croutons.
4 cups rustic Italian or French bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped fine
3-4 TBSP olive oil
large pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 140 Celsius.
Toss all ingredients to combine, and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake on the center rack for 15-20 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan every 5-6 minutes, or until the croutons are golden brown.
Remove from oven and serve – leftovers can be cooled completely and stored in a bag or lidded container at room temperature.
Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1 (10 ounce) jar maraschino cherries
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and stir until smooth. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls about the size of a walnut (larger if desired). Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press center of each ball with thumb.
3. Drain cherries and reserve juice. Place a cherry in indentation of each cookie ball.
4. In a saucepan, heat condensed milk and chocolate chips until chips are melted. Stir in 4 teaspoons of cherry juice. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of mixture over each cherry and spread to cover cherry. (More cherry juice may be added to keep frosting of spreading consistency.)
5. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Yields: 8 servings
½ (1-pound) package shredded phyllo dough, thawed
10 ounces chestnut spread, (3 100-gram small tins)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup vanilla sugar (see tips)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
½ cup unsalted roasted pistachio kernels, coarsely crushed
¼ cup date syrup
1-¼ cups roasted chestnuts, coarsely crumbled, + extra for garnish
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Place the melted butter in a spray bottle. Place the bottle in bowl filled with hot water so the butter remains melted.
Reserve 2 tablespoons crushed pistachios for garnish.
In a bowl, combine the remaining pistachios, vanilla sugar and light brown sugar.
Spray individual non-stick tins with the melted butter. Create a nest with one level of shredded phyllo dough. Sprinkle with a little of the pistachio mixture. Spray with a generous layer of melted butter. Spoon little mounds of chestnut spread and top with crumbled roasted chestnuts. Spray more melted butter. Add another layer of shredded phyloo dough. Repeat until you have 2 separate layers of pistachio mixture. Make sure to spray butter between each layer of shredded phyllo dough. Finish with a nest of shredded phyllo dough and a sprinkle of the pistachio mixture. Spray melted butter on top.
Bake for 5 minutes at 190°C, then lower the heat to 180°C and bake 15 to 20 minutes until slightly golden.
Unmold the baklava and drizzle with date syrup while it’s still hot to moisten the dessert. Let sit for at least 1 hour.
Garnish with pistachios and halved roasted chestnuts.