Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Poor man's chestnut cake: castagnaccio

Last fall, I've found out that EXPO 2015 will be hosted in Milano. It started in May and it will be open throught October. Perfect reason to visit Milano again this year! While I was combing through the food directory, just like hunting for treasure (treasure map is here), planning and imagining going from one pavilion to the next (each participating country has its own pavilion), this cake with chestnuts particularly stole my attention and I had to make it!
This cake has a very nutty, earthy like taste. You may need to get adjusted to it, but once you do you'll love it!

It doesn't break my series of meatless stew and flourless bread, as this is a sugarless dessert! :)
I LOVE chestnuts! One of the main things I look forward to when traveling in Europe are desserts with chestnuts. It is hard to find them here in USA. I love them in all forms: roasted chesnuts, simple chestnut puree served with a dolop of whipped cream, chestnut yogurt, chestnut macarons... Anything I find with chestnuts, I take it! :)

My superpower is that I can smell roasted chesnuts from very far away ;)
Marron macaron, Laduree. I love how this rhymes :D
Hazelnut yoghurt is still my favorite, though!

All the flags in this street represent the countries which are participating in the EXPO. We found Serbia, too! (on the right) :)


  • 2cups chestnut flour
  • 1cup water
  • 1/4cup raisins
  • 1Tbsp sugar (optional)
  • 4Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/4cup walnuts or pecans
  • 2Tbsp olive oil
  • 1Tbsp rosemary leaves

Serves 4


Soak the rasins for 10min in the warm water. Drain the raisins and keep the water in which the raisins were soaking. Slowly add this raisin-sweetened water to the chesnut flour and keep mixing, as if you are making a pancake batter. The consistency should be slightly thicker, so adjust the amount of water accordingly. Add 1Tbsp olive oil to the batter and sugar (optional, because it was already sweetened by raisins). 

Preheat the oven to 350F.    
I have used Le Creuset 7"x5" 16ounce rectangular baker. Cover it with baking paper. Add half of the raisins and half of the pine nuts to the batter and pour it in the baking pan. Sprinkle with rosemary, 1Tbsp of olive oil, walnuts, and remaining raisins and pine nuts.
Bake for 15-20min, until the first crack appears. Overcooking may make the cake dry, it should be moist and baked until the first crack and crust start forming. 

Bon appetit,