The other day I stopped at my favorite Middle Eastern market just after they restocked their variety of interesting flours, including my new favorite grain-free flour: chestnut. So I grabbed a bag, then came home and did some googling. I didn’t quite have all the ingredients to make castagnaccio, but with a few adjustments…
A lovely cake. Since I didn’t have an orange for zest, I substituted orange juice for half the water. Since orange juice has its own natural sugar, I omitted the 2 Tbsp called for in the original recipe. This is not a sweet cake at all, and I don’t think the 2 Tbsp would’ve made much of a difference – maybe you’d want to add a 1/4 C if you prefer a sweeter cake.
I think my biggest problem was the baking time. The original recipe says to bake “10 to 15 minutes, or until the top is golden.” I don’t think the top will EVER be golden. The batter firmed up at 10 minutes, but was not golden. The pine nuts were browning, but the cake itself was not. At 15 minutes, the color was actually lighter! It was getting overdone and beginning to dry out.
So, I’d keep an eye on the pine nuts. If the pine nuts are beginning to brown at 10 – 12 minutes, the cake is done. It will be dense and moist, and it does not have the texture of, say, a chocolate birthday cake. That’s okay. It will have a beautiful chestnut flavor sweetened with raisins.
Oh, and next time I’m going to stir half the raisins into the batter before I pour it into the pie pan. And I only used 1/4 C pine nuts and it was just fine…I guess I made a few changes.
14oz chestnut flour (it’s usually sold in a 14oz bag)
pinch of salt
1 C water
1 C orange juice
1/2 C raisins
1/4 C pine nuts
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 400. Grease a pie pan with olive oil and place in oven for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine chestnut flour and pinch of salt. Add water and orange juice and whisk until smooth. Stir in half the raisins.
Remove pie pan from oven. Pour batter into the pie pine, sprinkle with pine nuts, rosemary, and remaining raisins.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until chestnuts begin to brown. If the top of the cake begins to lighten, IT’S DONE!!!
By the way, this gorgeous cake is grain free, gluten free, paleo (without the sugar), and oil free aside from what’s used to grease the pan. A little nothing for everyone 🙂