Autumn has arrived in Montalcino, which means that it is time to enjoy castagne, or chestnuts. From our property, we can see Mount Amiata, where there are a lot of chestnut trees. Many families come here to collect chestnuts to prepare their own family dishes.
In the spirit of the season, we prepare a very popular dish made from chestnut flour. It is a cake called “Castagnaccio" and it is pretty easy to prepare.
• 3 ½ cups of chestnut flour
• 2 ½ cups of water
• ½ cup of raisins
• 1 cups of walnuts
• 1 ½ cups of pine nuts
• A bit of rosemary to garnish
• A pinch of salt
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil
To start, put the raisins in a bowl with some cold water to rehydrate them, then cut the walnuts into smaller pieces and peel off the rosemary. Put the chestnut flour in a bowl and slowly add water while blending with a whisk. Once you have a uniform mixture, add walnuts, pine nuts and the raisins (removed from the water, squeezed and dried). Set aside a small amount of nuts and raisins to use at the end for garnishes. Add the salt and mix. At this point, oil a baking tray. The size of the pan will depend on whether you would like your cake to be thicker and softer or crispier. Small pans yield thick, soft cakes, while large pans yield thinner, crispier cakes. Pour the mixture in the pan. Next, add a little bit of olive oil and garnish with the remaining walnuts, pine nuts, raisins and rosemary. Bake at 365°F for 20 minutes until the top of the cake is crisp and the dried fruits have turned a darker color.
A perfect pairing for this cake would be the Il Poggione Vin Santo. Salute!!!