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Chestnut Cake



Preparation time: 20 minutes.
Cooking time: 30 minutes.
Standing time: 30 minutes.
600g chestnut flour.
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil.
70g raisins.
40g pinenuts.
40g walnuts.


Sift the chestnut flour into a mixing bowl and gradually add 800ml of water, whisking continually to avoid lumps forming, until you have a smooth paste, neither too runny nor too thick, but forming ribbons when it falls from the spoon. Soak the raisins and squeeze out the excess water. Add two tablespoons of oil, a pinch of salt, the raisins, pinenuts and shelled walnuts to the batter. Pour the mixture into a shallow, greased baking tray (the cake should only be about 1cm high), sprinkle some rosemary leaves on top and drizzle a tablespoon of oil over. Put in the oven for thirty minutes. Leave aside for about half an hour before serving as the cake should be eaten either tepid or cold. For many centuries chestnuts were part of the staple diet in mountainous and hilly areas and for the poorer classes in general as they provided an inexpensive form of nutrition. The original, Florentine version of castagnaccio, which is also known as migliaccio (black pudding) in some parts of Tuscany, had only pinenuts in it. This recipe is a combination of traditional recipes from both Pistoia and Lucca which I find slightly tastier.


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