Castagnaccio (chestnut flour cake) recipe

Carolina Casini 30/01/2015

This is an amazing recipe for the winter weekend! It is not too sweet and it is healthy. Its a cake, but no sugar, yeast or baking powder are needed. It also contains pine nuts and walnuts that are good for your system. In Tuscany we typically make it in November & December because we pick up the chestnuts and prepare the flour in November and like all the flours is better if you use it when are fresh grounded because contain ingredients at their best.

Also, it is super easy to make which give the chance to everybody to bake on a cold winter Sunday!

On another note –  chestnut flour is naturally very sweet when you taste it raw. Taste your flour before using it. This cake was born as a poor man’s meal because everybody could go and pick up chestnuts in the wood and make flour out of it.  

 Castagnaccio Ingredients (for 8 people)

  • 250g (1/2 a pound) chestnut flour
  • 2-3 cups of water (600ml)
  • 1/2 cup (90g) of raisins
  • 1/3 cup (70g) pine nuts
  • 10 walnuts (peeled and chopped)  
  • olive oil
  • rosemary needles

How to make  Castagnaccio

  1. Put the flour in a bowl. Add water to the mix, slowly, while mixing. You want the batter to be soft enough to fall from the spoon, but not too liquid. Normally between 2 & 3 cups (600ml) is the perfect amount of water.
  2. Add the olive oil, the pine nuts, the walnuts, the raisin and mix them all well together. Leave some to be added on top after you pour the batter in the pan.
  3. Oil a pan large enough so that the poured batter is 1cm thick (0.4 inches), about 20 cm of diameter (between 7 & 8 inches). Pour the batter in.
  4. Throw the rosemary needles on top of the batter. Do not stir: you want the needles to be visible. Also add the remaining pine nuts, walnuts and raisins on top to make it more tasty.
  5. Bake the castagnaccio at 400 Fahrenheit (200 Celsius) for 30-40 minutes. The castagnaccio is NOT ready if there are no cracks appearing on the surface: the cracks means the cake is perfect.
  6. Take it out, let it cool and enjoy it. You can eat it on its own, or with a teaspoon of ricotta cheese on  the side.  Enjoy!  

Recipe by Mary Fiacchi – Grosseto (Tuscany)

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