Friday 21 December 2012

Chestnut Crème Cakelets & Distillery District Christmas Market

"Please sir, do you know the Chestnut Man?" This was the question on my lips as I flitted from stall to stall at the Christmas Market in Toronto's rather Dickensian Distillery District. Some market vendors pointed me towards various cobblestoned laneways and courtyards, suggesting I follow my nose to his portable fire. Others talked about him mysteriously, as though he and his chestnuts only appeared when the wind was right. Despite my thorough combing of the entire market (with indulgent stops at the apple fritter hut and Balzac's coffee for 'sustenance'), the Chestnut Man proved elusive. I didn't mind so much, as I soaked up the festive atmosphere and happily clicked away with my camera. I was simply looking to confirm what I'd already discovered - that roasted chestnuts are delicious. This year, I decided that a roasted chestnut-inspired dessert would be my date to Christmas dinner: I wanted something naturally attractive, slightly nutty and subtly sensual. I invited some chestnuts into my kitchen boudoir and we experimented at length together. I had eyes for no other dessert until the chestnuts and I got everything just right. The result? Tender-crumbed cakelets my friends can't stop talking about - with a flavour the Chestnut Man would seek me out for.