In the midst of all the holiday madness, we eked out some more baking firsts. We made our first challah bread and a whole wheat one at that. Along with the challah, we recreated a memorable starter from the fabulous dinner enjoyed during last year's Gerald Dickens performance of A Christmas Carol: the chestnut soup.
The recipe for the challah came courtesy of the King Arthur Whole Wheat Cookbook and we finally tracked down the chestnut soup recipe which I will include at the end of the post. We had to make some adjustments on the challah...we could not find whole wheat pastry flour anywhere so went with regular whole wheat flour and that required some extra dough-rising time...around an extra hour on the initial rise. The end result was still a tad underdone in the very center of the loaf but still delicious; particularly fresh from the oven with real butter.
We may have uncovered the chestnut soup recipe but clearly we did not learn of how seasonings were adjusted from that original source as ours did not taste quite as good as the Dickens dinner version. A little salt and white pepper went a long way though and we definitely enjoyed the end result.
As the hotel is closed for renovations, we are most assuredly missing Gerald's presence this year, both professionally and personally. We look forward to his return next year and imagine he has delighted many an audience with his signature performance of his great, great grandfather's work this holiday season.
As for the recipes, the challah recipe is here on the KAF website and the chestnut soup recipe comes from Gourmet magazine and is available on Epicurious here.