Thursday, December 29, 2011

Walnut Cream Soup (Intxaursaltsa o Crema de nueces)

My friends reminded me that another traditional Basque Christmas Eve staple is the "Intxaursaltsa" - walnut cream soup. Walnuts as well as chestnuts, apples, pears, hazelnuts, cherries, and quince were (and are)abundant in the Basque country and where there is abundance there is a dish. In this case, one with walnuts.

The "Olentzero," a figure dated before Christianity that represents the winter solstice, has a legend that evolved through  different periods adapting to them. Today, the "Olentzero," a coal miner, will come down once a year on Christmas Eve to the village, his face dirty by coal with his beret and pipe to deliver presents to children. While the kids wait in the winter cold night for their presents they drink a glass of "Intxaursaltsa." This tradition was interrupted in the Basque Country but not in Navarre during Franco's dictatorship from 1939 to 1975, and brought back a few years after his death. Now the tradition of the "Olentzero" is very much alive. There is a strong appreciation of him (see link below).

"Intxaursaltsa" top with meringue


6 ounces Walnut Pieces
2 pints Cream
2 to 3 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Clementine Peel

In a deep pan put the walnuts, cream, sugar, cinnamon and the clementine peel. On a low heat bring it to boil. Remove the cinnamon stick and peel and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from the stove and blend the mix.

For the Meringue:

4 Egg whites 
4 Tablespoons Sugar
Work the whites with a whisk or an electrical whisk until they are the consistency of whipping cream.

Serve the sauce in a glass bowl or martini glass  Top it with the meringue, a cinnamon stick, sprinkle powdered cinnamon on top and add some walnuts pieces.

To watch the "Olentzero" song go to the link:

1 comment:

  1. Hola Nuria,

    ¡Gracias por la receta! Está muy rica. Yo la hice y me encantan la canela en la receta porque es mi sabor favorita. La receta fue muy divertido hacer.


    Liz (la clase de Sra. Anderson)