There is only one thing that can be said with certainty about the origin and diffusion of castagnaccio. And it is this: the chestnut exists! Everything else is unknown.
Furthermore, since chestnuts have been harvested and used forever, it is almost certain that focaccias made with chestnut flour have been cooked and eaten everywhere (from Europe to Japan) for thousands of years.
In Italy, focaccias and chestnut breads were already used among the ancient Romans. However, the real boom came with the population increase after the year 1000. Since then, the chestnut has become a Fundamental component of the diet and economy of the hills and mountains. from everything from all over the country.
But it is not known where chestnut focaccias later became chestnut cakes. Obviously there are many certainties: the Tuscans know for sure that it was in Tuscany, the Romanesque in Romagna, the Ligurians in Liguria, etc. Carlos CracoHe is simply convinced that it is a typical product of Emilia, or rather of the Parma area, or rather precisely of the Val di Taro!
In fact, today there are varieties of castagnaccio considered traditional in all the Apennine regions, from Lazio to Piedmont. But also in other places: for example in Lombardy and Calabria.
The logical corollary of all this is that castagnaccio is known by a large number of different names: Pattona, Patòna, Migliaccio, Ghirigio, Baldino, Castignà, Toppone and others.
However, it must be said that although it is cooked everywhere, this characteristic “non-sweet dessert” has always been limited to its local areas. The merit of making it known and appreciated. Outside the towns and mountain valleys, it’s up to the Tuscans. Which in the 19th century they began (and managed) to sell in cities throughout the central-north. its most typical recipe, characterized by the aroma of rosemary. Which is what we propose to you.
The basic dough is very simple and relatively common to all recipes. Historically, only chestnut flour, water, a little olive oil, a pinch of salt and, if you wanted sweet, a little honey, were made. With time honey was replaced with sugar and pine nuts and raisins were added. And these have continued to be, for a couple of centuries, the basic ingredients of castagnaccio. Which then differs from place to place due to the ingredients added, the thickness, the shape and the consistency of the pasta.
If you want to enrich it You can add tiny pieces of candied fruit, chopped walnuts or almonds, pieces of fresh orange peel or fennel seeds to the dough. The habit of is also excellent. use not only water in the preparation, but water and milk in equal parts. As well as the use of replace part of the sugar with honey.
If you want to serve it, giving it a little tone., accompany it with cream or – even better – with fresh ricotta cream sweetened and flavored with anise or sambuca. But also try it with mascarpone, stracchino or other soft cheeses. Also delicious accompanied by fig or apple jams.
Finally, important attention for preparation. The basic hitter must be very fluid, as highlighted below in point 1. of the execution. “Very fluid” obviously does not mean liquid, but with a density more or less similar to that of still warm cream, before solidifying when cooled.
- 500 g chestnut flour
- 100 g raisins soaked for 15 minutes in warm water
- 60 g pine nuts
- 50 grams of sugar
- A sprig of finely chopped rosemary
- a pinch of salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- We put the flour in a bowl and add 4 tablespoons of oil, sugar and a pinch of salt. Then slowly pour in room temperature water, mixing carefully: half a liter (5 dl) or a little more should be enough. If possible, mix with a whisk to obtain a dough. liquidhomogeneous and without lumps
- Add the pine nuts to the dough along with the well-drained and lightly squeezed raisins, continuing to mix.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper of dimensions such that the chestnut dough is approximately one finger high (2 cm). As an alternative to baking paper, simply grease the pan with oil. Now spread the chopped rosemary needles on the bottom of the paper and pour the mixture over them. Level the surface and cook in the oven preheated to 180° until a crust forms on the chestnuts. It will take approximately 30 to 40 minutes. Let it cool, cut it into slices or tablets and serve at room temperature.