(I KNOW HOW TO) LOOK FABULOUS IN SMUDGED MASCARA NOT SCHMALTZ, AND KNOWS THAT THIS GLITTERED PAPER-CONE WAS FOR MY HEAD, AND NOT POPCORNS…
At the last night of 2014, I sat across the face of a dilemma. Motionless, in front of me, was a glass of tequila shot.
Right there, I could either go down the history in my last early-30’s-year, smoothly like how it had always been in the past, as the mature… collected… restrained grown-up who likes to wake up to a brand new year with lucidity and purpose. Or, I could burn through the last breath of my defensive youth, in the last stand to prove that this new… cool… age-defying woman still knows how to spell f-u-n and p-a-r-t-y, looks fabulous in smudged mascara not schmaltz, and knows that this glittered paper-cone was for my head and not popcorns…
In the first morning of 2015, as the first light came into my blurred vision… so did the “rest of the party”. Raging headache, stinging chest-cough, inflamed sinus… and a really loud ringing silence in my head, I could only be glad that I didn’t have to hear my own muted, bled-out voice… Is your first lesson of a brand new year… always the same one, and never learnt? → Too old for this shit.
Thank goodness that I had most part of this recipe prepared before I headed out yesterday, and the only thing left to do for my crippled existence today, is to stuff 4 slices of really thick but pillowy milk-toasts with the ready-made roasted chestnuts paste. Then dip them in nutmeg custard that acts as a glue for an even layer of granulated sugar, which then directly go into a buttered skillet to be caramelized and hardened into creme brulee-crusts.
Crunchy, soft and chewy toasts explosively filled with creamy, sweet and smooth chestnuts. Oozes… oozes is the word. Then extra melty butter, freshly grated nutmeg, snowflakes of sea salt and a smoothing stream of maple syrup. If that didn’t do it, a scoop of ice cream answered.
Fun, hell, french toasts, recover then repeat? Sounds like a new year’s resolution to me.
- Approx 2 cups (315 grams) peeled roasted chestnuts
- 1/4 cup (45 grams) light brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp vanilla paste, or vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cup (300 grams) whole milk, plus 2 tbsp more to adjust
- 4 thick slices (1 1/2" or 4 cm) brioche or Hokkaido milk toast
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup (183 grams) whole milk
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, plus more to serve
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (53 grams) granulated sugar
- 14 cup (20 grams) light brown sugar
- 6 tbsp (85 grams) unsalted butter
- Flakey sea salt and maple syrup to serve
- TO MAKE THE CHESTNUTS FILLINGS: Combine peeled roasted chestnuts, light brown sugar and vanilla paste in a food-processor, pulse until the chestnuts are coarsely ground. Add 1 1/4 cup whole milk and run until the mixture is smoothly pureed. It should be paste-like and creamy. Adjust the thickness with more whole milk if needed. Keep in the fridge until needed, and can be made the day ahead.
- TO MAKE THE FRENCH TOAST: Use a serrated knife and cut a "pocket" into each slices of brioche (or milk toast), extending close to the edges without opening them (like pita bread). Set aside. Whisk together egg, whole milk, freshly grated nutmeg and ground cinnamon. Set aside. Mix granulated sugar and light brown sugar evenly together. Set aside.
- Stuff each brioche-pocket with a generous amount of chetnuts-filling, carefully without squishing the bread. Melt 1 1/2 tbsp of unsalted butter for each french toast (depending on how many you're cooking at a time) inside a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Dip each stuffed brioche into the egg-mixture, then sprinkle an even layer of the sugar-mixture on one side, and smooth it out with your hand. Flip and coat/sugar the other side as well.
- Transfer the toasts directly into the skillet. Keep the heat around medium ~ medium-low, and cook until both sides of the sugar has melted and caramelized. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool slightly, so the sugar-layer can harden. Repeat with the rest.
- Serve immediately with a nub of unsalted butter, freshly grated nutmeg, sprinkles of sea salt and maple syrup (plus vanilla ice cream if you'd like).