Feb 2, 2010

Castagnaccio recipe

Castagnaccio is a typical Apennine region non-sweet dessert made with chestnut flour and love. During a particularly difficult shoot in Garfagnana where long working days were spent immersed up to the waist in a tumultuous river, the thought of returning to the hotel and munching on foot-long slabs of castagnaccio in front of the fireplace, made conquering the Serchio river bank effortless.

Image © Fraenzi

500 g (2 1/2 cups) sweet chestnut flour (the cheaper kind is lumpy and bland)
750 ml (3 3/4 cups) water
A pinch of salt
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of fresh Rosemary needles
100 g (1/2 cup) Pine nuts
50 g (1/4 cup) Raisins

Preheat oven at 180° C (350° F).

Soak the raisins in a glass of lukewarm water and set aside. Pour the olive oil in the water and set aside. Sift the chestnut flour in a large mixing bowl and add the salt. Slowly drizzle the water and oil “emulsion” over the flour and keep mixing with a wire whisk to avoid lumps. The blend will turn out quite liquid, but do not worry.

Pour the mixture in a well-oiled cake pan. Don’t mind the uneven composition swimming in the pan, the recipe requires it to be that way, trust me.

Sprinkle with pine nuts, raisins and rosemary needles. Drizzle with one more thread of oil and bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes. I like my castagnaccio soft with a lightly crisp crust. Mind you, the pie doesn’t rise, so the thickness shouldn’t be more than a 1/2-inch.

Tip: Don’t sink your teeth in your castagnaccio before it has cooled down completely. The oil will comfortably be absorbed during cooling and you won’t scorch your mouth.

Oh, one more thing: castagnaccio loves Chianti.


  1. This is new to me. I shall try to obtain chestnut flour. Or, save recipe for those times when chestnuts are available and I can proceed.

  2. Yum, I love pine nuts ! This looks fabulous... will share it with la Grenouille...

  3. That sounds so wonderful. I love anything with pine nuts....maybe lakeviewer will make up a batch when she's heading toward San Francisco and I can beg some from her!!

  4. Mmm ... sounds delicious, and I promise to have patience before sinking teeth into Castagnaccio.

    But, the delicious nature of today's post has been tempered by your link to May 25th. I have not words to express my feelings. Thank you for this link, and your poignant narrative of remembrance.

  5. Oh wow, the picture got me all drooling over here... :) This dish sounds wonderful.

  6. This sounds unusual and delicious. Lola - I know I will be unable to find chestnut flour here - do you have a tip about how to make my own? Tinned chestnuts are easily available in France and I could easily puree some up to mix into regular flour.

  7. p.s. As for a shoot involving you being up to the waist in water - whoever said film-making was glamorous :)

  8. It's great the way you translate the measurements to cups -- 1/2 cup; 1/4 cup.

    I have a couple of foreign books having to do with great cuisine, but they're useless to me: I don'tknow a gr from an ml.

  9. This looks beautiful. I like the ingredient "Love" :-)

  10. This does sound like the perfect match for Chianti.

  11. Sounds simply wonderful...hope you made lots...smiles.

  12. 'Made with chestnut flour and love'...that's beautiful.

  13. Thank you, Lola! This is a recipe I can eat, no gluten, no dairy! :-)

  14. What a beautiful presentation! Sounds like something my grand mother would prepare, delizioso!

  15. Who doesn't love Chianti? Really.
    I have never heard of chestnut flour.

  16. I made a mistake coming to your blog just before lunch. My stomach is growling now and I know what I have for today won't be anywhere near what it now wants.

  17. Mouth-watering and I know I have some pinches of love around here. Thinking for Carnevale....

  18. Ciao, wow was I pleased to see your gorgeous Castagnaccio!

    We make it sometimes on my Garfagana classes and I have found people new to chestnut flour are sometimes really taken by the taste anmd sometimes just.....taken aback!

    Do you ever put orange zest on top? A local Lucca friend does and it is a great addition.


  19. I've had the recipe for castagnaccio for a long time. I've always wanted to make it, except that I couldn't readily find the chestnut flour. Your post has inspired me to diligently look for the chestnut flour this time. ;-)


  20. So funny you'd mention that Castagnaccio loves Chianti* - I have the fondest memories of a late autumn drive from Florence towards Pistoia and stopping at a ristorante in the woody hills and they served the best Castagnaccio ever.

    * Seeing the location you were working in, I expexted Montepulciano d'Abruzzo *smile* - see, I one of my best friends is from Sulmona

  21. Thank you all for your lovely comments! I'm sorry to respond so late, but the blogging activity has tripled!

    Big hugs,
    Eleonora (Lola) xx

  22. Thanks for directing me here Eleonora, will copy and try this!

  23. Linda~
    Please do and let me know how it turns out. To some it's an acquired taste, but oh so yummy for me!! I hope you like it.