Chestnut cake

With the arrival of autumn and the chestnuts spilling onto the ground in the woods, it is definitely the right time to make a cake like this one: it’s the famous chestnut cake, made with chestnut flour, a specialty of the regions of Piedmont, Tuscany, Liguria, and Emilia Romagna. This cake is made with a mixture of chestnut flour, extra virgin olive oil, water, pine nuts and raisins; variations of the same cake suggest adding ingredients such as orange peel, rosemary, fennel seeds or nuts. To best enjoy your cake it’s best to serve it with a new wine or with a sweet wine like Vin Santo which is often drunk with the almond biscuits ‘cantucci’. Other perfect combinations include chestnut honey or ricotta. But now we come to the moment for making the cake, so let’s discover how to do it together!

Ingredients

  • chestnut flour 250 grams
  • water 375 millilitres
  • salt
  • walnut 50 grams
  • pine nuts 50 grams
  • raisins 40 grams
  • rosemary
  • extra virgin olive oil
Information
40 minutes Total time
30 minutes Active time
Serves 4 persons
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Preparation

Soak the raisins. Mix a pinch of salt with the flour and add the water a bit at a time, stirring with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. Then add the pine nuts to the mix, along with the walnuts and raisins, setting to one side some of these three ingredients. Mix well and then pour into a well-greased baking pan. Decorate the surface of chestnut cake with the set-aside dried fruit and nuts and sprinkle over a handful of fresh rosemary. Drizzle over some olive oil and bake for 30 minutes at 200°C.

Tips
Be careful with your choice of chestnut flour, which should be extremely soft and fine. It’s best to buy it during the autumn and particularly in November, by going to a genuine flour maker.
Trivia
According to what we read in a treatise written by Hortensius Landi, it seems that the inventor of this cake was a "Pilade from Lucca". In the work: "Commentary on the most notable et monstrous things in Italy and elsewhere", it reads that he was: "the first one who made castagnazzi and brought back praises".

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