Castagnaccio

 Chosen as Editor’s Pick at Food 52 as Your Best Non-Pie Thanksgiving Dessert.

Autumn has not arrived yet if you haven’t had a slice of castagnaccio. It’s the cake of our childhood evenings, the one our grandmothers and mothers made for our afternoon snacks. Castagnaccio is a traditional Tuscan autumn cake made with chestnut flour, water and olive oil. Just like Pan con l’Uva, it’s a humble and simple dessert – the poor man’s cake – originated in the Apennines where chestnuts (plentiful in that area) were the primary diet of farmers and peasants.

It is basically made by combining chestnut flour and water till you have a smooth mixture which is then baked in the oven. Chestnut flour is naturally sweet, so it is unnecessary to add sugar, but other ingredients can be added, generally rosemary, pine kernels, raisins and nuts.

Ingredients

250 g chestnut flour, sifted

1 1/2 cup water

40 g walnuts

20 g pinenuts

1 cup raisins

1 sprig of rosemary

extravergine olive oil

Preparation time: 5-10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 180°C. In a bowl combine chestnut flour and water; stir till you have a smooth mixture (neither too thick not too runny). To be sure not to make the mixture too liquid, add water a little at a time. You may need more or less water than 1 1/2 cup, so be careful, because this is a very important step. Stir in 2/3 cup of raisins.

Grease a baking pan with a little oil and pour the chestnut mixture. Sprinkle the top with rosemary, pinenuts, walnuts and the remaining raisins. Drizzle some extra oil and bake for about 30 minutes. Castagnaccio is ready when the surface cracks.

Castagnaccio

L’autunno non può dirsi arrivato senza aver mangiato una fetta di castagnaccio. È la torta dei nostri pomeriggi da bambini, quella che le nonne e le mamme preparavano per la merenda. Il castagnaccio è un dolce Toscano tipico dell’autunno preparato con farina di castagne, acqua e olio di oliva. Proprio come il Pan con l’Uva, è un dessert umile e semplice – il dolce del povero – originario degli Appenini dove le castagne, lì molto abbondanti, erano alla base della dieta dei contadini.

Fondamentalmente si prepara mescolando acqua e farina di castagne fino ad ottenere un composto omogeneo che viene poi cotto in forno. La farina di castagne è naturalmente dolce, per cui non è necessario aggiungere zucchero, mentre si possono aggiungere rosmarino, pinoli, noci e uvetta.

Ingredienti

250 g di farina di castagne setacciata

1 tazza e 1/2 di acqua

40 g di noci

20 g di pinoli

1 tazza di uvetta

1 rametto di rosmarino

olio extravergine di oliva

Tempo di preparazione: 5-10 minuti

Tempo di cottura: 30 minuti

Preriscaldare il forno a 180°C. In una ciotola mescolare la farina di castagne e l’acqua fino ad ottenere un composto omogeneo, né troppo liquido né troppo denso. Per essere sicuri di non avere un composto troppo liquido, è bene aggiungere poca acqua alla volta. Ci può volere più o meno acqua rispetto alla tazza e mezzo, per cui bisogna prestare molta attenzione in questa fase. Aggiungere 2/3 di tazza di uvetta.

Ungere una pirofila da forno con un po’ di olio e versarvi il compost di castagne. Cospargere con il rosmarino, i pinoli, le noci e la restante uvetta. Versare ancora un po’ di olio a filo e cuocere in forno per 30 minuti circa. Il castagnaccio è pronto quando la superficie si screpola.

Castagnaccio on FoodistaCastagnaccio

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11 comments
  1. Now you’ve really got me thinking about going back to the market to buy some of those chestnuts! This looks delicious!

    • Rita said:

      You definitely have to: you got no choice. Chestnuts are haunting you… :P

  2. Haha! I am seriously spooked. Some people get scared by ghosts, I get scared by chestnuts! They are always watching me, lurking just around the corner from the carrots. :-P

  3. Katerina said:

    I love chestnuts. In my father’s village we have many chestnut trees. Now I know what I will make once they arrive here.

    • Rita said:

      Really? How lucky! I hope you find chestnut flour over there. Let me know if you manage to find it! ;)

  4. This looks amazing! I have never used chestnut flour. I will have to try this out!

  5. I have passed by chestnut flour bags in some supermarkets; this is the first time I am really tempted! I love chestnuts roasting sold by street cart vendors in Beirut; love your traditional and lovely recipe.

    • Rita said:

      I love roasted chestnuts, too. They’re such an autumn comfort treat!

  6. Rita, this looks amazing! I might have to go grocery shopping again. Thanks for visiting our blog today, loved your comment!

    • Rita said:

      Thanks to you for stopping by! I hope you find chestnut flour over there… :P

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