Cuisine: Italian
Author: Nancy Harmon Jenkins, ©Flavors of Tuscany: Traditional Recipes from the Tuscan Countryside
  • 2½ cups chestnut flour
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins, plumped in ¼ cup warm vin santo, white wine, or water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing pan and drizzling the cakes
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts (pignoli) or ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  1. Sift the chestnut flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar and salt. Drain the raisins, reserving the vin santo or wine if used. Set aside about 1 tablespoon of raisins to go on top and stir the remainder into the flour.
  2. Mix the vin santo or wine, if used, with enough water to make 1 cup, and combine with the milk and oil. Using a wire whisk, stir the liquid into the flour mixture to make a batter with the density of heavy cream. Add the orange zest. Set the batter aside to rest for 30 minutes, during which time it will thicken somewhat.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  4. Grease the bottoms and sides of 2 round or square pans (8-inch diameter) with oil and divide the batter between the pans, pouring it in a very thin layer—about ¾ inch deep. Sprinkle the tops liberally with rosemary leaves, the reserved raisins, and either the pignoli or the walnuts. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil over the top of each castagnaccio and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the tops are crisp and lightly crackled. (The inside will still be moist.) Serve hot or at room temperature, in the pan in which it baked, with a little dollop of very fresh ricotta cheese over each slice if you wish.
  5. If there are leftovers, they can be reheated by adding a little dry white wine to the spaces in the pan, covering the pan lightly with a piece of foil, and setting in a 300°F oven until the wine has been absorbed and the castagnaccio is hot.
Recipe by Simple Italy at