Fresh chestnuts and fresh chestnut flour are seasonal products and not a year long offering so take advantage of this narrow time window to enjoy them!
Chestnut is not a typical nut nutrition wise because very low on calories and fats. The flour is rich of fiber and gluten free so the cakes made entirely with it will not rise.
Castagnaccio, known as the poor man’s cake, is not really a cake (there is no sugar, milk or butter added) but, given the sweetness (and filling capacity!) of chestnut flour, it is usually served at the end of the meal with Vinsanto or consumed at room temperature as a snack.
The amount of raisins, pine nuts and walnuts can vary according to your preference. I recommend using shelled walnuts and to soak raisins for five minutes in warm water if they are very dry. Serves 6-8
60 gr. raisins
60 gr. pine nuts
50 gr. walnuts (about 10 shelled walnuts)
1 fresh rosemary sprig
400 gr. fresh chestnut flour (by fresh I mean from current harvest- check the expiry date on package)
3 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus extra for drizzling
2 pinches of salt
1 tbs. of orange peel
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F. Brush an 11 inches round cake pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Sift the chestnut flour into a bowl and gradually add 2 ½ cups of water to make a smooth batter.
Stir in the salt, orange peel, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, half pine nuts, half raisins, half walnuts and few rosemary needles and mix well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the remaining pine nuts, raisins, walnuts and rosemary needles. (Push slightly the rosemary needles in the batter with your finger since they tend to burn easily, especially if not fresh).
Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 40 minutes on the medium rack, until the top is golden and the surface is cracked. Let it cool slightly and serve with a side of fresh ricotta and a glass of Vinsanto.