This cake is made with chestnut flour. It is typical of the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Liguria, and Tuscany, where these nuts were a staple food for peasants. This cake is similar to an energy bar and ideal for the cold season. It is a great snack for kids! You will need 15 minutes to prepare, 30 minutes to cook and 1 hour to set. Here is the recipe:
- 250 grams (9 oz.) chestnut flour
- 50 grams (1 ¾ oz.) small raisins
- A pinch of salt
- 450 ml (16 fl oz.) water
- 30 grams (1 oz.) sugar
- 80 ml (2 ½ oz./1/3 cup) olive oil
- 100 grams (3.5 oz.) dark chocolate, melted
- 2 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
- 3-4 rosemary sprigs, chopped
- 40 g (1 ½ oz./¼ cup) pine nuts
To garnish (optional):
- ¾ cup chocolate glaze (homemade or store-bought)
- Soak the raisins in a bowl of lukewarm water. Sift the chestnut flour into a mixing bowl, add the salt and sugar. Add the water in a thin stream with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, whisking at the same time, then pour in the melted chocolate and whisk until the mixture is runny. Cover the bowl with a cloth and rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
- Grease a large tart tin or a deep baking dish (not too thick so the heat conducts well) with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. Whisk the batter before pouring it into the tin to a maximum depth of 1.5 cm (5/8 inch). Pour the remaining oil in a thin stream and mix into the batter with a spoon.
- In a small frying pan, fry the pine nuts over medium heat until golden. Scatter them over the batter with the drained raisins and rosemary. Bake for 20–30 minutes — when ready, the top should be cracked.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. The castagnaccio will keep for 1 week in an airtight container.
- Garnish with a chocolate glaze and decorate with a few chestnuts (if desired).