This is one of those posts I prepared before I left and as I am in Italy I thought I would do something typically Italian.
Chestnut Flour is something my mother grew up with as her family harvested and milled the chestnuts. It is quite a laborious process and the chestnuts spindly coating making it potential painful as well.
This brown tinged flour has a distinctive sweet, nutty aroma but you need to careful with its storage - keep it in an airtight container in a cool place like the fridge. To have it at its optimum, buy it in small quantities.
For those with gluten intolerance you'd be happy to know that this is gluten free.
One of the main dishes made with this is Castagnaccio and when I asked my mother about it, she really couldn't understand why I'd want to make it. She had it almost every day growing up in Italy, which understandably explains why she has never made it here in Australia.
The version made by her family was rather plain and lacking the raisins, pinenuts and rosemary that you see in many "traditional" versions but it was served with their home-made ricotta and honey.
So for this version I've kinda mashed the recipes together and created my own version.
Instead of rosemary leaves, I've used the rather delicate and beautiful rosemary flowers.
I wanted something a bit more subtle and Rosemary is anything but subtle - the flowers on the other hand give you just that hint of flavour in a rather delicate mauve package.
I've also replaced the pinenuts with slivered almonds and as our raisins are quite large, currants take their place.
chestnut flour, sifted
good ricotta cheese
honey (I used Heritage Natural Comb Leatherwood Honey)
I'm not giving exact measurements as this dish doesn't have any - it's done by feel.
Sift flour into a bowl and then whisk in enough cold water to form a smooth batter - we are looking for it to achieve the consistency of runny cream.
Take an oven dish and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the dish. Pour in the batter - you only want it to be 1-1½ cms (½ inch) thick.
Sprinkle over with some slivered almonds and currants and then finely with the rosemary flowers.
Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven until cooked (the time will depend on the size) - the top will have a crackled appearance when done.
Turn out and cut into wedges - eat when hot or warm, topped with ricotta cheese and a good dollop of honey.
Maybe this version will tempt my mother?