If you like chestnuts, you are in the right place! Castagnaccio is the best chestnut cake that you just have to try in your life: fudgy consistency, nutty taste with a hint of rosemary: pure perfection from Italy! Read on to find out how to make it at home easily.
What kind of cake is that
Castagnaccio is not exactly the most common cake. Its primary ingredient is chestnut flour which is made of dried chestnuts. Therefore Castagnaccio has a similar consistency to roasted chestnuts, but is even better with the added nuts and spices. It is not very sweet and is full of good nutrients.
Where is this recipe from
It is considered that Castagnaccio was invented around 16th century in Northern Italy, most probably in Tuscany. At the time chestnuts were considered "the bread of the poor" as they were growing spontaneously in these areas and everyone could eat them when they didn't have anything else.
In the 19th century Castagnaccio became popular also in other parts of Italy. In these years people started adding also nuts and rosemary to the cake to make it tastier.
Nowadays there are many variations of Castagnaccio with different flavours and ingredients added to it. In this post, however I will present you the classic recipe for this tasty dessert which also happens to be vegan and gluten-free.
What ingredients you need
The classic and simple Castagnaccio recipe calls for just few ingredients. Apart from chestnut flour, you would need pine nuts, raisins, rosemary leaves, a little sugar, olive oil, pinch of salt and few walnuts. Of curse, you also need water to mix the batter.
Find the complete list of ingredients and their quantities below the post, in the recipe card!
Is this recipe easy
It is very easy to make Castagnaccio! In fact there is almost nothing that can go wrong with the recipe. This dessert doesn't need baking powder or yeast as the consistency resembles more a fudge, rather than a cake. It is just mixing the ingredients gently and baking.
There are many different variations of Castagnaccio around Italy. below are some of the most popular ones that you may also try easily at home:
- One typical Castagnaccio recipe from Piemonte region calls for whole milk, apples and honey
- Another version from the same region is made with crushed amaretti cookies
- Ricotta is another ingredient that in some regions is added to the batter
- There is also Chocolate Castagnaccio
- Orange zest is an ingredient sometimes present in Tuscan recipes
Did you like this recipe? Let me know in the comments what you think about it!
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Simple Castagnaccio recipe
- 3 1/3 cups/ 300 g chestnut flour sifted
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup / 50 g caster sugar
- 1/3 cup/ 40 g pine nuts
- 1/4 cup / 40 g raisins
- 1/4 cup/ 30 g chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 1/2 cup/ 360 ml water + 3 tbsp for the raisins
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- Place the raisins in a small bowl and add 2-3 tbsp water, just to cover them.
- Toast lightly the pine nuts in a frying pan.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C. Grease very well a 10 inch/ 26 cm round cake pan.
- Place the sifted chestnut flour in a bowl and start adding from the water. Use a whisk to mix the batter. Add also the olive oil, salt and sugar and keep whisking gently. Add the soaked raisins (with the water) and half of the pine nuts and whisk until absorbed. The batter should not be thick but not very liquid too.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Sprinkle on top the rest of the pine nuts, rosemary leaves and walnuts.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is firm and starts getting cracked and golden brown.
- Serve at room temperature in slices.
- Avoid using a spring form pan as the batter might leak.
- You might be tempted to bake the cake in a smaller pan but trust me, being thin is one of its charms.
- Keep the Castagnaccio leftovers for 2-3 days in the fridge.
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