Friday, May 31, 2013

Castagnaccio - Italian Chestnut Cake

I was looking over my "To Cook Soon" file recently and came across David Rocco's recipe for castagnaccio, a traditional Italian chestnut cake. I compared it to another recipe in my file and this seemed to be the better one.

Castagnaccio is incredibly easy to make, has almost no fat or sugar and is gluten free; I was looking forward to recommending it to my celiac-suffering friend. So, using chestnut flour from Kalustyan's, wonderful rosemary from my friend Susan and unbelievably sweet raisins from our California based friends Nami and John, I set out to make the perfect castagnaccio. Which I might have done. It was beautiful, as you can see from the picture above.

The problem: castagnaccio is not really a cake at all (no leavening) and has a weird taste. It reminds me of the chestnut filling for seasonal sweets in Japan, but is less sweet and comes in an enormous quantity rather than pretty little bites.

While I can't exactly recommend it, if you're a chestnut fanatic, you might give it a try. The recipe is set forth below.

Bobby Jay

(David Rocco)

This is a very Italian, not-sweet pastry, best eaten with some vin santo. Probably originally for Italian grandmothers in the late afternoon rather than for dessert.

Serves  6-8



 - 400 g chestnut flour
- 30 ml sugar
- Pinch salt
- 500 ml water
- 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 50 g raisins
- 60 g pine nuts
- Leaves from a rosemary sprig
- Zest of 1 orange

1.     Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2.     In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, and water. Whisk the batter well until the batter is silky smooth in consistency.
3.     Add the olive oil to a nonstick pie pan and heat in the oven for 5 minutes. Once the oil and pie pan are hot, add the batter. Smooth out the batter evenly. Sprinkle the raisins, pine nuts, rosemary and orange zest on top.
4. Bake the cake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the top is golden.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I probably will never make it but I spent time looking at the photo as it is really beautiful.