Torta Farine di Castagne e Mele – My imported taste of Italy
I could probably create an entire niche blog dedicated to my love of Farine di Castagne.… Cucina Castagne Ceri?
I’m considering starting a sideline as a mass importer of authentic Italian chestnut flour to the UK. You can get chestnut flour in the UK but not without a compromise on cost or taste. The Italian imported version found in health food shops is usually hideously overpriced. Whereas the UK produced version from our home grown chestnuts doesn’t have the same texture as the finely milled Italian version. The grittier texture means that it doesn’t behave the same in recipes (I’ve tried!).
If you are in London the best advice I can offer is to raid the Italian delicatessen Lina Stores on Brewer Street in Soho. The best price vs quality I have found in London. Alternatively Luigis Mail Order (whole of UK) has a great lower priced option.
When I went to Italy back in November to visit my family who live there it was inevitable that I would come back with at least a few packets of this stuff. True to form I did, though managed to restrain myself with just 1kg due to the darn easy jet baggage allowance. I picked up my flour from the local Co-op supermarket for a mere €2.80 per 500g. My intention with the flour was to build a new recipe from my Castagnaccio or Chestnut & Prune Brownie recipes. But – and this is proof that inspiration can come from anywhere – there was a ‘torta’ recipe on the side of the packet in Italian. My Aunty assisted with the translation (in my defence I did pretty well on my own) and once I got back to London I got to it – subbing the conventional ingredients of the recipe such as sugar and poor oil (that’s what it said!) for their better relations. Instead of a 125g carton of yoghurt I used a dairy free alternative of coconut yoghurt. Since the coconut yoghurt is so thick I watered it down to get it the same consistency of regular yoghurt. If you’re happy with dairy, using a full fat 125g carton of natural pro-biotic or greek yoghurt would do the trick.
I took the cake to my office as a handmade gift from my holiday. I hope they appreciated it more than a tube of Toblerone or bar of Milka from the airport (potentially not, but I think I’ll live with that…)
I’ve since also tried the recipe with small plums (used 5), added cinnamon to the dough, and next I want to try pears and cocoa for that ‘poires au chocolat’ vibe.
Ingredients (serves 8)
- 225g Italian Chestnut Flour
- 1/2 tub of Co Yo (coconut yoghurt) mixed with 3 tablespoons of water
- 50g coconut palm sugar
- tsp organic honey
- 75mls olive oil
- 3 free-range eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 apples (braeburn or cox’s) thinly sliced
- 1 tsp of gluten-free baking powder
- cinnamon to finish
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C (fan).
- Prepare the cake dough by mixing the flour with the watered down yoghurt, coconut sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs (whites and yolks). Add in the apples (pic below left) then sprinkle over and mix in the baking powder.
- Pour into a prepared baking tin (pic below right) and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
- Leave in tin till cooled, then remove. When ready to serve sprinkle with a dusting of cinnamon if desired.
There are a couple of lovely chestnut flour cookie and cake recipes in the Fitter Food – A lifelong recipe for health and fat loss book – Don’t forget my GIVEAWAY of this book ends on Friday 22nd Feb – so get entering now!