Castagnaccio is a cake made of chestnut flour. It is a perfect representation of Autumn.
I miss Autumn sometimes. The leaves on the trees changing colours and becoming golden, brown and red, it is such a magical transformation, a transition from Summer to Winter.
In Italy on those very cold days, street vendors start roasting and selling chestnuts.
Autumns equals roasted chestnut and I would always buy some. Hot chestnuts wrapped in a paper bag, warmed my hands and made me happy.
During the war period chestnuts were staple in an Italian pantry. There was food shortage, very harsh cold weather and transportation between regions was so difficult. So in regions like Tuscany, people started to use chestnut to make cake, polenta, bread and pasta.
Chestnuts fall off the tree when they are mature, so there was less labour involved, they just had to pick them up from the woods. This also meant that they didn’t have to spend any money, mind you, during the war people were getting poor.
It is fascinating how behind every recipe there is a story.
Castagnaccio is a very simple recipe. It is gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and egg free. It is versatile, so depending what you put on it it can be eaten as as sweet cake or a savoury one.
If you want to make the castagnaccio sweet add 1 orange (zest and juice) and sultanas.
If you want to enjoy it as a savoury one, you can pair t with some salame, prosciutto, cheeses.
I made a rosemary and garlic oil a couple of weeks a go so I decided to drizzle that. But you can use any type of oil you like.
What is that special food that represents Autumn for you? Share in the comments.
This recipe was adapted from the book The Real Flavour of Tuscany by Lori De Mori & Jason Lowe
By November 8, 2015Published:
- Prep: 10 mins
- Cook: 40 mins
- Ready In: 50 mins
Gluten free, egg free, dairy free and sugar free
- 500 g Chestnut flour sifted
- 650 ml Water
- 100 ml Rosemary Oil you can use any other oil
- 75 g Pine Nuts
- 75 g Walnuts broken into pieces
- Rosemary leaves fresh
- Pre-heat oven to 200ºC.
- Mix the flour and water to smooth batter. Add the oil and mix well.
- Brush a baking tray with oil. Pour the batter in it.
Spread the pine nuts, walnuts and rosemary sprigs on the top.
Drizzle a bit of oil and bake for 40 min.
- When the cake is ready, cracks start to form on the top.
Drizzle with a bit of oil before serving.
- Cuisine: Italian
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November 11, 2015 at 04:23
We are from Spain and we were just discussing how we miss being able to buy chestnuts off the street! I have never heard of this cake before…its looks delicious! Now i want to go buy some chestnuts to try this cake….thanks for sharing!
November 11, 2015 at 15:14
Hi Vicky and Ruth, I would love to visit Spain one day. I am a very very big fan of Salvador Dalî and would love to visit his museum in Barcellona. Try the cake and let me know
November 11, 2015 at 11:41
What an interesting Cake Dalia! Always learn something new whenever I come here. And pumpkin spice is what represents autumn to me. The aroma is everywhere.
November 11, 2015 at 15:16
Thank you Immaculate I must try pumpkin spice, it is almost impossible to find it here in Perth. I promised to myself that I will try to make a recipe with the pumpkin spice soon.
November 13, 2015 at 14:24
Wow, this is amazing. Love it! I’ve always loved chestnuts but never knew they could be made into flour. We roast them in Malaysia… So good. So So good.
November 14, 2015 at 13:01
Thank you AiPing I am glad that you love chestnuts and hopefully now that you know chestnut flour exists you can create some amazing recipes 😉
November 13, 2015 at 20:19
This looks and sounds wonderful. I can just imagine the flavours of chestnuts, rosemary & pine nuts going together so well. I’ll be on the lookout for chestnut flour now.
November 14, 2015 at 13:02
Helen it’s amazing how certain ingredients can compliment each other 😉
November 14, 2015 at 03:20
I am a little obsessed with chestnuts right now so this caught my eye. Such a interesting recipe and love the history blurb!
I am so intrigued that it has no sugar added – how wonderful
November 14, 2015 at 13:05
Hi Christina, chestnuts are mildly sweet hence very versatile for sugar free recipes. Hope to see chestnut recipes on your blog 😉
November 14, 2015 at 05:57
I can’t believe how few ingredients you need, and how easy this is to make! Looks so delicious!
November 14, 2015 at 13:06
Marsha thank you! Yeah extremely easy to make and few and cheap ingredients.
November 14, 2015 at 12:58
This Castagnaccio looks delicious! It is something I have never tried before and I love the fact that you can make it sweet or savoury depending on how you feel at the time. I have never tried cooking with chestnut flour but will be pinning this to make when I find some. Fabulous recipe!
November 14, 2015 at 13:07
Thank you Mel you are absolutely right, chestnut flour has a mild sweetness so it can really be versatile. I will soon post other recipes using chestnut flour.
November 14, 2015 at 15:00
So the chestnut flour is a ready mix? Any idea if one can make it at home? You recipes are always amazing really! I would love to try this savory chestnut, send me some!
November 14, 2015 at 15:05
Farida I wish you could come at my place and we can share this cake I have always bought the chestnut flour (it is not a mix but pure chestnut flour), and I don’t think it is hard to find because it is a gluten free alternative flour for those who are intolerant to gluten. You can still make it at home, I have seen some interesting posts on the web of people making the flour at home. I think you should peel the chestnuts, roast to dry out and then process it till it becomes fine.
November 15, 2015 at 18:32
What an interesting recipe, great that you can make it either sweet or savoury depending on your mood. Gorgeous photo, I would gladly grab a slice or two and crunch on those pine nuts 😉
(ps. for the walnuts and pine nuts: do you count 75 pieces or is it 75 gr? It doesn’t specify in the ingredients list)
November 16, 2015 at 01:47
OMG thanks for noticing Stella it is 75gr and I will change it immediately. It would have been hilarious to count 75 pieces of pine nuts hahaha
November 18, 2015 at 08:17
I have never tried using chestnut flour and now I have a very delicious excuse! Definitely pinned to try this yummy cake later!
November 23, 2015 at 20:58
Hi Abby, I am glad I was a delicious excuse 😉 looking forward to your cake. Please let me know what you think after you taste it
November 19, 2015 at 01:34
This is a very interesting recipe. I haven’t worked with Chestnut flour before. I am definitely giving it a try. It looks so good.
November 23, 2015 at 20:56
Deepika glad you will try to work with chestnut flour. Let me know what your recipe will be
November 19, 2015 at 02:05
I was thinking of baking something with chestnut flour for some time now, thank you for sharing!
November 23, 2015 at 20:55
Hi Teresa you are most welcome. Looking forward to your recipe