Castagnaccio Lucchese (Chestnut flour cake)
I’m very proud of this recipe. It is a typical winter pie from Tuscany, Liguria and other regions, but it is a must in my hometown Lucca. Of course, many small variations exist from town to town, but I’d rather say it is quite consistent all over.
One peculiar aspect of this pie is that we don’t need sugar at all! Chestnut flour is the base ingredients and it provides with all the necessary sweetness. What I really like about the Castagnaccio (castagna is chestnut in Italian) is that it reminds me of our past time, where our ancestor were mainly farmers and out land had a lot of chestnut trees. Don’t even get skeptical when you see the rosemary, give me a little bit of credit and try it out!
– 250 chestnut flour
– 1/4 orange peel
– 3 walnuts
– pine nuts
– 500ml water
Prepare a batter pouring and stirring slowly the chestnut flour into the water. Pay attention to break all the lumps may form, use the kitchen whisk for that. Add a pinch of salt. Take a baking pan, grease it very well with EVO. Do not use silicon baking pan, use aluminum or glass ones, then pour your batter.
There’no rules regarding the height just keep in mind that the higher you make it, the softer will be inside. Anyway, do not make it more than 2,5 – 3 cm. I personally prefer to prepare it no more than 2 cm. You can now decor the top with walnuts, orange peel, rosemary and pine nuts. You can gently press them a bit so that they can be incorporated into the surface. I don’t use raisin although one of the most common variations (variation to mine, of course) has it. That really depends on your taste. Spray a bit of EVO on top and your pie is ready to go in the oven, 200 degrees, static, for about 30 minutes.
You will notice that the top will become like “dried ground”. Now your pie is ready. You can enjoy it with a glass of red wine. I know, not really a dessert drink but remember, this pie comes from farmer tradition!
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