Fall in Tuscany, in many households traditional recipes reflect what the fruits of the season offer, and one of these are chestnuts. Its trees are widespread throughout the region, from Valdichiana to the Maremma, from north of Siena to the Mugello and Garfagnana, chestnuts have always been a food resource for the tuscan population.
What we describe here is the recipe for Castagnaccio, a simple chestnut flour cake (from “castagna” which means chestnut). The word cake here can be a little improper since this dish isn’t exactly “sweet”, the light sugariness tasted comes from the raisins and chestnuts, there is no sugar in it, there is also no baking powder or yeast.
Here the recipe as we know it from our family.
- 350 g of chestnut flour
- 500 ml of water (flexible quantity according to flour quality)
- 85 g of raisins
- 100 g of pine nuts
- 4 walnuts coarsely ground
- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- about 40 needles of rosemary
- pinch of salt
Preheat oven at 200 °C
Oil (use 1 tbsp of the above) a large tart pan
Put the raisins to soften in a cup with some little warm water.
In a bowl sieve the flour and, slowly while strirring, pour first the water and then the olive oil and salt, you need to obtain a thick but fluid batter, not too liquid. Still mixing, add then pine nuts, walnuts, well drained raisins.
Pour the batter in the pan, the thickness should be more or less about 1 cm high. Spread the rosemary needles on top of the batter without stirring.
Bake for about 45 minutes, until some cracks appear on its surface. Remove from the oven and let it cool. It can be served in slices just plain or with some fresh ricotta cheese.
This is Arianna & Friends’ recipe and it can be directly learned hands on, in one of its tuscan cooking classes in Tuscany, Italy.