Chestnut Cake Alla Pistoiese Recipe, 4 Steps, 1 Hour, Serves 8, from 'Tuscany' (Phaidon)

The 'Tuscany' book contest is now officially closed as we have 2 winners.

As a consolation prize for those of you who came close but not enough to winning Tuscany (Phaidon Press), here is a dessert excerpted from this winning tome, created by the Silver Spoon kitchen.

Castagnaccio Alla Pistoiese Pistoian-Style Chestnut Cake

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves: 6-8


50g (scant ½ cup) raisins

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for blushing

600g (51/4 cups) very fresh chestnut flour

1 teaspoon salt

100g (scant 1 cup) pine nuts

100g (scant 1 cup) shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 small sprig rosemary

Castagnaccio alla Pistoiese


1) Put the raisins into a bowl, pour in warm water to cover and let soak for 15 minutes, until plumped up. Drain, squeeze out the excess liquid and pat dry with paper towels.

2) Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas Mark 7. Brush a 30-cm (12 –inch) round cake pan with about 3 table-spoons oil.

3) Sift the chestnut flour into a bowl and gradually stir in about 900ml (3 ¾ cups) water to make a smooth batter. Stir in the salt, pine nuts and raisins and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan  and sprinkle with the walnuts and a few rosemary needles.

4) Drizzle with the oil, put the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until the top is golden and the surface is cracked. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool slightly, then serve.

(* Castagnaccio Alla Pistoiese Pistoian-Style Chestnut Cake recipe and photo from Tuscany (May 2011, $39.95) reproduced by permission of the publisher Phaidon Press)

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