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Castagnaccio

This chestnut flour cake, traditional in Liguria and other parts of northern Italy, is free of gluten, dairy products and eggs. It’s dense and rich without being too sweet and the orange and rosemary give it a gorgeous aromatic quality.

Method

Soak the sultanas in a little freshly boiled water (or hot tea) for about 10 minutes, so they plump up, while you prepare everything else.

Preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas 2. Brush a 22–23cm springform cake tin with some of the oil and line the base with baking parchment.

Drain the sultanas over a measuring jug to catch the soaking liquid, then make up the liquid to 400ml with cold water.

Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Add the orange zest, then gradually beat in the 400ml water until you have a smooth batter. Beat in the olive oil and sultanas.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, then scatter over the pine nuts – patting them in slightly with your hand so they adhere – and rosemary. Bake for 45 minutes. The cake will look very similar to how it did when it went into the oven but the top should be dry and slightly cracked in places and a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.

Remove the side of the tin and leave the cake to cool on the base on a wire rack. Peel away the lining paper as you transfer the cake to a board to cut into slices.

Serve the cake just warm, or completely cooled, trickling each slice with honey and a little extra virgin oil.

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Ingredients

  • 75g sultanas or raisins
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 400g chestnut flour
  • 50g soft light brown sugar
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 25g pine nuts
  • Leaves from 1 rosemary sprig
  • Honey, to serve

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Light and Easy

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