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Castagnaccio
Tuscan Chestnut Flour Cake



Castagnaccio is a rustic cake prepared in Tuscany and across the other mountainous areas of central Italy where the chestnut flour is widely used for preparation of a variety of delicious sweet and savoury dishes. We adore the chestnut flour which is gluten-free as well as rich in minerals and vitamins making this cake a healthy bite. Natural sweetness of the chestnut flour makes it ideal ingredient for those who want to reduce the amount of sugar in the desserts.

The best chestnut flour can be bought from local producers in Italy who pick chestnuts, dry them for forty days over a fire and then ground them in local stone mills. You can also find chestnut flour in specialty food stores across Italy such as Castroni in Rome. Otherwise, you can get the chestnut flour from your local food store or online.

During the winter time you will find castagnaccio in many cafés and pastry shops around Italy but there is nothing more rewarding than making your own castagnaccio at home.

This easy-to-follow recipe is the most popular version of castagnaccio featuring the chestnut flour, water, pine nuts, raisins and rosemary. Some recipes call for orange zest and pieces of walnuts which is also tempting combination.

A slice of castagnaccio is usually served topped with slightly sweetened whipped cream or some very fresh ricotta. We are sure you will adore your homemade version of this traditional Tuscan treat!


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Castagnaccio

SERVES: 10
COOKS IN: 40 minutes
DIFFICULTY: Super easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 400 g chestnut flour
  • 600 ml cold water
  • 40 g pine nuts
  • 50 g raisins
  • 1-2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Pinch of salt

PREPARATION

  1. Soak the raising in the warm water.

  2. Sift the chestnut flour in a medium bowl and add a pinch of salt. Add the water, bit by bit while stirring to avoid lumps. The batter should be thicker than pancake batter. Depending on the flour you may need a little more or a little less water. Let the mixture rest for about 30 minutes.

  3. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C. Pour the batter into a baking tray (25 x 25 cm) lined with baking paper. It should be no more than 1 cm thick. Sprinkle the pine nuts, raising, rosemary leaves and the rest of the olive oil on the top.

  4. Bake for about 30 minutes or until you see little cracks all over the top of the cake. Do not overbake or it will become too dry. Let it cool in the pan then slice into squares and serve. Castagnaccio keeps well for a few days in an airtight container at room temperature.


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