Castagnaccio is a Italian chestnut cake that is simple, but delicious! Flavored with aromatic chestnut flour, rosemary, olive oil, and raisins, you will love this unique dessert!
Looking for some other Italian cuisine for your Christmas dinner? Add this delicious Panettone to your menu!
What is Castagnaccio (or Tuscan chestnut cake)?
If you haven’t tried it before, Castagnaccio (or Tuscan chestnut cake) sounds pretty strange. It is super simplistic in its ingredients (just chestnut flour, rosemary, olive oil, nuts, and raisins), and the original recipe doesn’t use any sweetener other than the natural sweetness from the raisins and chestnut flour itself.
Historically, it originated from Tuscany, which means it was more a peasant dish. We call it chestnut “cake” in America, but I use the word “cake” loosely when it comes to this dish. It is almost closer to an unleavened, flatbread. Because our palates are not as used to a more savory dessert like this, a little bit of honey is added into this recipe. However, I will leave it up to your discretion whether you want to add it or not!
Preparing this chestnut cake
Because this recipe doesn’t call for many ingredients, it’s important that the ingredients you use are good quality, especially the chestnut flour. If you can’t find any that are from Italy in your local supermarket, there are some great options online, like this one.
Although this recipe is a fairly straightforward “add it all in a bowl and stir” kind of recipe, there are a couple things to keep in mind. The first thing to keep in mind is to soak the rosemary and raisins before you use them. This well help rehydrate both these ingredients so that they don’t absorb too much of the moisture while baking. Another tip that will help elevate your Castagnaccio is to sift the chestnut flour. This will help your batter be smoother and not clump.
Throw it in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, then enjoy it with a nice glass of red or dessert wine!
- 1/3 cup raisins, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
- 3 cups chestnut flour, sifted
- 1 2/3 cups lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons honey*
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts, divided
- ¼ cup pine nuts, divided
1. Soak raisins and rosemary leaves in a small bowl of lukewarm water. Set aside.
2. Position oven rack to center position. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9” pie pan with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine chestnut flour, water, honey, and olive oil with a fork. Continue stirring until a smooth batter forms. If batter is too thick, add another tablespoon or two of water to thin slightly.
4. Drain raisins and rosemary leaves and pat dry. Add half of the raisins, walnuts, and pine nuts to batter and stir to combine.
5. Pour batter into prepared pie pan and spread with a spatula to form a smooth, uniform layer. Evenly distribute rosemary and remaining raisins, walnuts, and pine nuts on top of batter.
6. Place pan in pre-heated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is dried and starting to crack.
7. Remove from oven and cool slightly before cutting into thin slices and serving. Enjoy!
*Honey is optional. Use more or less honey depending on level of sweetness desired.
TIP: For best results, sift the chestnut flour before using. If you don’t have a flour sifter, add chestnut flour to a small fine mesh strainer and gently shake over the mixing bowl to remove any clumps.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 219Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 15mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 3g