The word Castagnaccio comes from the Italian castagna (chestnut) and indicates a cake traditionally baked in Tuscany during Autumn. Simple to prepare and both gluten-free and sugar-free, this cake’s earthy flavour and smooth, silky texture will sweeten any rainy afternoon.
If you have plenty of chestnuts at hand, you can also try to make chestnut flour on your own: How to Make Your Own Chestnut Flour
Serves: 4-5 | Preparation time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 35 mins
- Chestnut flour: 500 g
- Walnuts: 100 g
- Pine nuts: 80 g
- Raisins: 80 g
- Salt: 5 g
- Water: 450 ml
- Extra Virgin olive oil (EVOO): 2 tbsp
- Rosemary, fresh: 1 sprig
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Soak the raisins in lukewarm water for at least 10 minutes or until they are rehydrated, then squeeze them to get rid of the excess water and dry them with a kitchen cloth. Roughly chop the walnuts and set them aside.
Sieve the chestnut flour and combine it with the salt in a large bowl. Add the water little by little, until the dough is smooth and homogeneous, but not too liquid.
Add walnuts, raisins and pine nuts, keeping some to garnish the top of the cake right before baking it. Pour half of the olive oil in the dough and mix it well.
Brush with oil the inside of a cake mould. The mould can be either round or rectangular in shape, but it should have a diameter or side of at least 30 cm and a border 2 cm tall. Pour in the dough and use a spatula to even out the surface. Sprinkle on top the walnuts, raisins and pine nuts that you kept aside, along with the rosemary leaves.
Drizzle the remaining olive oil on top.
Bake to 170°C for about 30 to 35 minutes. You will know that the castagnaccio is ready when its surface will start cracking and the nuts on top will be of a nice, golden colour. Take it out of the oven and leave it to cool before serving it.
Tip: It’s important to cook the castagnaccio at a low temperature, because it must be soft and slightly damp inside, and instead slightly crunchy on the outside.