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Castagnaccio (Italy)

“ IL CASTAGNACCIO”

an ancient recipe from Tuscany - Italy


INGREDIENTS :
• Chestnuts flour 300 g
• Sugar 50 g
• Water 2 dl
• Milk 2dl
• Olive oil 2 spoons
• Raisins 50 g
• Pine nuts 50 g
• Walnuts 50 g
• Fresh Rosemary a sufficient quantity
• A pinch of salt
PROCEDURE
Turn on the oven till 200° . Sift the flour into a bowl and then add water and milk , gradually , mixing with a fork to eliminate all the lumps. Add sugar and salt. Wet all the raisins in some warm water and then add it to the mixture. Add pine nuts , minced nuts and two spoons of olive oil. Stir the mixture again and then put it into a mould or a baking tin previously oiled or covered with some oven paper. If you want a softer castagnaccio use a smaller baking tin , if you prefer it crisper use a larger one ( however the level of the cake should be 1.5 cm or 1 cm high ) . You can decorate the surface with some pine nuts , minced walnuts some leaves of fresh rosemary and oil. Put the baking tin into the oven for about 30’ or more if the mixture is thicker . Castagnaccio is ready when its surface is dry and cracked . You can serve it warm , cut in big slices , adding a spoon of a fresh light unsalted cheese ( ricotta )


ITS HISTORY
Castagnaccio , such as most of Italian traditional recipe , was born as an only dish for poor people because chestnuts were very common fruits in countryside and they were very nourishing and cheap too. We can find the origins of this cake far in the past : we have some news about it in the XVI century. But castagnaccio spread all over Italy only during the XIX century and from that time it was enriched with raisins , pine nuts and rosemary. A legend says that rosemary leaves , used to scent this cake , were a powerful love elixir : if a young man had eaten some castagnaccio , given by a girl , he would have fallen in love and asked for her hand in marriage .


 

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