chestnut cake with ricotta
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Chestnut cake with ricotta

Castagnaccio is a classic Tuscan dessert, a chestnut cake with a smoky flavour. Here it is revisited with a Christmas mood with a filling of ricotta, chocolate chips and candied orange peel.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Tuscan
Keyword chestnut, gluten free, ricotta
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for the chestnut cake

  • 50 g (1 3/4 oz) raisins
  • 1 tablespoon vinsanto, or any sweet dessert wine
  • 250 g (2 cups) chestnut flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 400 ml (1 2/3 cups) water
  • 50 g (1 3/4 oz) pine nuts
  • zest of 1⁄2 an orange
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for the ricotta filling

  • 100 g (1/3 cup) fresh ricotta, well drained
  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar
  • zest of 1⁄2 an orange
  • 20 g (2/3 oz) chocolate chips
  • 20 g (2/3 oz) candied orange peel

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 180°C/355°F. In a small bowl, soak the raisins some warm water and a tablespoon of vinsanto.
  • Sift the chestnut flour into a large bowl and add a pinch of salt. Pour in the water a little at a time, mixing continuously to prevent lumps. Add the grated orange zest. Drain the raisins, squeeze out the excess liquid and add them to the mixture along with half of the pine nuts. Combine thoroughly.
  • Grease a 26 cm large baking dish with plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Pour in the batter.
  • Sprinkle the remaining pine nuts and rosemary needles on top of the cake. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and bake for about 40 minutes, until the cake is dry on the top and textured with fine wrinkles and the inside is still soft.
  • Let the chestnut cake cool down, and in the meantime prepare the filling.
  • Whip the fresh ricotta with sugar and orange zest, then fold in the chocolate chips and the diced candied orange peel.
  • With a 5 cm cookie cutter, cut out 12 discs from the castagnaccio.
  • Fill a pastry bag with the ricotta, and use it to sandwich the castagnaccio discs. Finish with a dusting of icing sugar and serve.
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