Monday, February 20, 2012

Castagnaccio di Carnevale

Barbara from Barbara's Spielwiese  has called for recipes for the imminent season of carnival/carnevale/Fasching/Mardi Gras/Shrovetide....

Childhood memories came up and a salad made from raw herring rekindled my traumatised food experiences. Not that my mother was a bad cook - raw fish just disgusted me even at a tender age. The other option would have been Faschingskrapfen (jam donuts) which were the better part of my mum's carnival recipes but I'm not very fond of either very fat or very sweet things. So I had to go international and look for not so sweet alternatives. I know that the Italian cuisine has a great variety of baked carnival things but most of them are deep-fried. But then I found what I secretly was looking for, a castagnaccio!

A castagnaccio is a chestnut flour cake and originally an autumnal dish, eaten when young wine starts to be available. But in Tuscany it obviously also became typical for carnevale. Maybe because of the stories that say that if a girl gives her beloved one a piece of her castagnaccio he will love her forever. Well, the way to a man's heart is verily through his stomach. So it would also be made for Valentine's day which coincides nicely with carnival.

These are the ingredients I used for my castagnaccio:

The dough is more like a pancake dough; that's how it looks when poured into the baking dish (which ideally should have been a copper dish. Well, I used my not so posh quiche pan.

And the result fresh from the oven:

A look inside:

And here is the recipe:

Castagnaccio di Carnevale
adapted from La Tana di Mopo and the recipe collection Giallo Zafferano


250 g chestnut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup of plant-based milk (I used oat milk)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
zest from one orange (use an untreated one, you don't want pesticides and wax in your cake!)
a handful of raisins (soaked in juice from half an orange)
a handful of walnuts, chopped (leave some halves for decoration)
a handful of pine nuts
fresh rosemary
water as needed

What to do:

Sieve the flour because chestnut flour tends to lump together, add baking powder. Pour in the milk and mix. Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the walnut halves, pine nuts, and rosemary. Add water until you get a dough which is similar in consistency to pancake dough.

Grease your baking dish and dust with flour. Pour in your cake mixture. Sprinkle the walnuts, pine nuts and rosemary on top.

Bake  at 180° C for about 40 minutes. Let completely cool. Enjoy :)

Buon carnevale!


  1. Your castagnaccio seems very very good! :)
    Thank for mentioning my recipe :)
    I'll wait you in my 'hole'.
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much :)
      I think your idea of adding orange zest was absolutely fantastic; it enhanced the castagnaccio incredible and went so well with the rosmary.

  2. Ja, das ist mir auch fast lieber als das ganze Fettgebackene, womit ich mich die letzten Wochen gefüllt habe. Tolles Rezept!

    Danke fürs Mitmachen beim Event.

    Ein kleines Problem habe ich: Ich kann die Fotos für die Zusammenfassung nicht darstellen, ist da etwas gesperrt oder geschützt? Falls es nicht klappt, darf ich mir ein Foto mopsen und bei meinem Picasa-Ordner abspeichern, damit ich es darstellen kann?

    1. Das Rezept ist echt ungewöhnlich; durch das Kastanienmehl schmeckt es so ganz anders, einen Hauch bitteren Nachgeschmack. Aber das passt ganz wunderbar zu Orangen und Rosmarin - und erspart vielleicht den Underberg :)

      Ich hab die Reste noch mal in den Ofen geschmissen und warmgemacht als meine Jungs kamen und warm war sie sogar noch besser fand ich.

      Und nur melden bei Problemen, mopsen erlaubt :)

  3. Kommando zurück, es geht! :-)

    (und ich brauche wohl eine Pause...)