Autumn has set in and the chestnuts are ripening in the mountains of Corsica. Next month people there will be gathering in the evening to enjoy a traditional meal of chestnut flour cooked by men and served with a special sausage which will be grilled in a big fireplace. More about that later.
Now, I am expecting the visit of my friend V. and I am going to introduce her to the delights of chestnut pancakes. V. comes from Guadeloupe in the French West Indies and the tropical climate of the Leeward Islands does not make it possible for the chestnut trees to grow.
From next month, you should be able to find chestnut flour in some supermarkets and in some delicatessen. It keeps well because it is usually sold in vacuum packs and will last for over a year, if you can resist using it all at once. The chestnut purée can also be found in supermarkets and delicatessen and my favourite variety is the one which is sweetened and which has vanilla in it as well.
If you not have eau-de-vie or chestnut liqueur, cognac will do.
200g chestnut flour
50g chestnut purée
1 tablespoon eau-de-vie or chestnut liqueur
25g unsalted butter
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
Pinch of salt
1. Sift the flour in a mixing bowl.
2. Add the milk gradually and whisk vigorously to avoid lumps. Add a pinch of salt and the liqueur or eau-de-vie.
3. Gently heat half the butter in a non-stick frying pan and pour half the pancake mixture. Increase the heat and when the edges of the pancake start to unstick themselves from the frying pan, toss the pancake or turn it over using a spatula.
4. Cook the other side quickly and serve immediately.
5. Spread half the chestnut purée on each pancake and finish with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Beware that the ice cream will melt on the hot pancake!
6. If you can, have a glass of liqueur with it.
Note: Do not try to fold the pancakes as they will break because there are no eggs nor any fat in this mixture and it is less flexible.