|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Servings: One 8-inch cake (6 servings)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 17g||22%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||9%|
|Total Carbohydrate 35g||13%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||17%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Castagnaccio is a traditional Tuscan recipe that is typically made each fall. It's usually associated with Lucca and the rest of Tuscany, but similar autumnal chestnut cakes are also made in other Italian regions such as Ligura, the Piemonte, Veneto, Lombardia, and Emilia-Romagna, in Switzerland, and on the French island of Corsica.
It is a dense, flat, unleavened cake and it is a somewhat unusual dish in that it's a dessert, but not a very sweet one, and made with ingredients—such as olive oil and rosemary—that are more likely associated with savory dishes. It might be better described as a "semi-sweet flatbread," though that doesn't quite nail it down either.
It's very nutritious and simple to make, so give it a try and see how you like it! It's great served after a hearty fall meal with a glass of vin santo, nocino, or any other sweet dessert wine. It would make a unique and seasonally appropriate addition to a Thanksgiving dinner table, and since it just happens to be vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free, a great alternative dessert for those with dietary restrictions.
To make it a bit more dessert-like, you can also add cocoa powder and increase the sugar a bit, or omit the rosemary. Since, like most traditional Italian dishes, there are endless variations on the recipe, feel free to experiment and add and omit ingredients according to your own personal taste. Some ideas of variations are given below the recipe.
It's important to use fresh and high-quality chestnut flour. If you are unable to find chestnut flour, it's surprisingly simple to make your own from roasted chestnuts, if you have a food processor or mill.
- 1 1/2 cups chestnut flour (sifted)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup raisins (soaked in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes, drained well, and squeezed of excess water)
- 1/3 cup walnuts (toasted and roughly chopped)
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C.
Place the chestnut flour in a large bowl.
Gradually whisk in 2 cups of warm water to form a thick, smooth batter. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and raisins. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
Transfer to a greased round cake pan. Sprinkle the walnuts, pine nuts, rosemary, and remaining olive oil evenly over the top.
Pat lightly with a spatula to adhere and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned.
Serve and enjoy!
- Replace the raisins with chopped candied orange peel, chopped dried black cherry, chopped dried fig, chopped apple, or chopped dates (or any combination thereof).
- Add 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 5 ounces melted dark chocolate, or 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips.