Chestnuts are a prized possession of Tuscany. These nutty gems grow best in autumn on the Tuscan mountains and have been an integral part of the regional cuisine for a long time. Due to the seasonality of chestnuts, they grew popular amongst the poorest in Tuscany during the colder months, resulting in creations such as Castagnaccio. This chestnut cake became a Tuscan culinary point of interest in the Roman times, and here Francesco Marrucelli brings it into the present with his rendition of this beloved dessert, Castagnaccio alla Toscana.
It wouldn't be a classic Tuscan recipe without Tuscany’s green gold; Extra-virgin olive oil is infused with rosemary leaves for an aromatic twist. The main event, of course, is the chestnut flour, combined with walnuts and pine nuts to ensure the cake is sweet but not sickly. The nuts and rosemary decorated the top by sticking to a drizzle of Extra-virgin olive oil, to finish this dessert with attractive temptation.
Castagnaccio alla Toscana
Serves 6/8 - Cook in 50 minutes
- 500g chestnut flour
- 800ml cold water
- 50g pine nuts, plus extra for topping
- 50g walnuts, plus extra for topping
- 50g raisins, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
- 72g Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Spring of rosemary, leaves stripped
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (°C). Place the EVOO and rosemary leaves in a small oven-safe dish, and heat in the oven (N.B. Be careful not to burn the mix).
Sift the chestnut flour into a large bowl and then add little by little the cold water, stirring continuously by hand to avoid lumps. Once you obtain a smooth and homogenous mixture, stir in 50g of pine nuts, 50g of walnuts and 50g of raisins (soaked and drained).
Place the batter into a medium cake pan, greased with olive oil. Garnish with extra walnuts, pine nuts, and lastly pour over the EVOO and rosemary garnish. Bake for 35 minutes until small cracks appear on the surface. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan before serving. Buon appetito!