Lookin' for... CHESTNUT FLOUR cakes

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by compassrose, Sep 24, 2001.

  1. compassrose

    compassrose

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    Last time I was in Ottawa, I impulsively bought two largish bags of nifty vacuum-sealed chestnut flour at a fancy Italian grocery.

    I've, so far, put it into pancakes (yum yum) but I want to go deeper into the Mysteries of Chestnut Flour. Not only is it yummy, but I'm excited by the fact that though nutty in flavour, it's got a fraction of the fat of most other nuts.

    I've got a recipe (several, actually) for the classic Castagnaccio, which looks like something I'd like a lot and that no one else in the old homestead would touch. However, I've also heard that chestnut flour is used in some traditional Hungarian and Germanic/Austrian sorts of tortes. Has anyone got recipes or experience to share?

    I've also been thinking about using it as a straight-out replacer for the nutmeal used in tortes, but wondered if the fine, flour texture would spoil things?
     
  2. w.debord

    w.debord

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    I haven't ever worked with chestnut flour so I could be wrong....but I've haven't had any problems sub.ing in almond flour for almond meal in several items. Like into a meringue or daquiose it works fine, I like the smoother texture of the flours in somethings like frangipane then the mealy texture of fresh ground nuts. Even into cakes...

    Why not? Just as long as you don't use it where you need gluten strenght.
     
  3. kimmie

    kimmie

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    Hello CompassRose,

    I suppose you're talking about the "Troffie di Farina di Castagne" (Chestnut Pasta sauced with Pesto, and served with a potato and green bean garnish)?

    The troffie looks like curly worms :eek:
    I must admit it doesn't look very appetising!

    :rolleyes:
     
  4. compassrose

    compassrose

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    Troffie de wha? No, Castagnaccio is a sort of primeval medieval "dessert" thing, basically an unleavened cake of chestnut flour with pinenuts, rosemary and dried fruit, with olive oil drizzled over the top, baked until done. Very popular, I'm told, among devotees of the Paleo Diet.

    Anyway, it sounds hearty and chewy and not too sweet, which I like... but of my housemates, A. doesn't like pinenuts, and the roomie likes his desserts VERY desserty, preferably bursting with chocolate. I'm thinking of making a tiny baby one and having it all by myself for supper some time, maybe with some steamed greens.

    Come to think of it, though, savoury chestnut flour things WOULD be good, too. D'you think I could reconstitute chestnut flour and use it as a sub for canned puree? That would be kind of cool... save on leftovers from those mongo cans the unsweetened puree always seems to come in.
     
  5. w.debord

    w.debord

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    You can't reconsitute flour into a puree! YUCK! You'll just get a flour paste you'll wind up throwing out.

    Spend a little time looking thru baking books. Look for cakes and fillings that call for the nuts to be ground, then sub. in your flour.

    Off the top of my head it should work in these recipes:

    Daquiose (baked meringues you build into tortes).

    Frangipane (a filling for tarts).

    Tart shells, or any crust that calls for flour or ground nuts.

    Nut cakes (try to sub. it in for 1/3 of the flour) like pecan cake, date nut cake, maybe a dense carrot. You could make any of these upside down cakes...like a pear upside down cake, by putting the fruit and carmel in the pan first then batter over the top.


    Angel food cakes (instead of flour) add some spices too to round out the flavor.

    Macaroons
     
  6. isa

    isa

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    Rose,

    Here are a few recipes for chestnut cakes. Hope it's what you are looking for.


    Chestnut Sand Cake

    3 large eggs
    1 cup milk
    2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
    1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon sifted bread flour
    1 cup sifted chestnut flour
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    12 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

    Pan: two 9 inch by 1 1/2 inch cake pans greased, bottoms lined with parchment of wax paper, and then greased again and floured.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    In a medium bowl lightly combine the eggs, 1/4 cup milk and vanilla.

    In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.

    Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pans will be about half full. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until a tester inserted near the centre comes out clean and the cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the centre. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pans on rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto greased wire racks. To prevent splitting, reinvert so that the tops are up and cool completely before wrapping airtight.

    The Cake Bible

    Chestnut Génoise

    1/4 cup clarified beurre noisette
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    6 large eggs ( scant 1 1/4 liquid cups)
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 cup sifted cake flour
    2/3 cup sifted chestnut flour
    1 cup + 2 tablespoons rum syrup (1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar, 3/4 cup water, 3 tablespoons dark rum)

    Pan: two 9 inch by 1 1/2 inch cake pans greased, bottoms lined with parchment of wax paper, and then greased again and floured.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    In a large mixing bowl set over a pan of simmering water heat the eggs and sugar until just lukewarm, stirring constantly to prevent curdling. Using the whisk beater, beat on high speed for 5 minutes or until triple in volume. ( A hand beater may be used but it will be necessary to beat for at least 10 minutes)

    While the eggs are beating, sift together the flours. Remove 1 scant cups of the egg mixture and thoroughly whisk it into the beurre noisette.

    Sift 1/2 cup of the flour mixture over the remaining egg mixture and fold it gently but rapidly with a large balloon whisk, slotted skimmer or rubber spatula until almost all the flour has disappeared completely. Fold in the butter mixture until just incorporated.

    Pour immediately into the prepared pans (they will be 2/3 full) and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until the cakes are golden brown and start to shrink slightly from the sides of the pans. No need for cake tester. Once the sides shrink the cakes are done. Avoid opening the oven door before the minimum time or the cakes could fall. Test toward the end of baking by opening the door slightly and if at a quick glance they do not appear done close the door at once and check again in 5 minutes.

    Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto lightly greased racks. Reinvert to cool. Trim the bottom and top crusts when ready to complete the cakes and sprinkle the syrup evenly on all sides.

    To make the rum syrup

    In a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid bring the sugar and water to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Cover immediately, remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. Transfer to a liquid measuring cup and stir in the rum. If the syrup has evaporated slightly add enough water to equal 1 cup + 2 tablespoons syrup.

    The Cake Bible

    Viennese Kastanientorte

    4 eggs, separated
    1/2 cup vanilla sugar
    2 cups chestnut flour*
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    Chestnut Whipped Cream (double recipe)
    1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate, grated maraschino cherries

    Directions

    Beat egg yolks and one-half the sugar until very fluffy and pale. Beat in chestnut flour and salt. Beat egg whites and remaining sugar until very stiff; fold into batter, lightly but thoroughly. Pour batter into buttered floured 8-inch springform pan. Bake in preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) about 1 hour or until done. Let cake rest overnight. Cut through middle to make two layers. Fill with one-third of the whipped cream. Spread remaining whipped cream over entire cake as frosting. Sprinkle with grated chocolate. Decorate top of cake with cherries. Chill until serving.


    Kastanienschlagobers
    Chestnut Whipped Cream

    Whipped Cream made with 2 tablespoons powdered vanilla sugar (bend vanilla bean into powdered icing sugar for a few days)

    1 cup chestnut flour
    2 tablespoons powdered vanilla sugar
    1 tablespoon maraschino liqueur or dark rum
    1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream

    Mix together chestnut flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, maraschino liqueur, and 1 1/2 tablespoons unwhipped cream. Lightly but thoroughly, fold in about one-quarter of the Whipped Cream. Lightly but thoroughly, fold in remaining Whipped Cream.

    From:
    RecipeXchange
     
  7. compassrose

    compassrose

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    Those are awesome, Iza! Despite searches both online and in print, I couldn't find ANYTHING other than the Castagnaccio recipe, and wanted some recipes to at least give me an idea of what sorts of things chestnut flour likes to do.

    The Sand Cake and the Kastanientorte look PARTICULARLY tempting! Mm! Thanks again!

    Oh... by the by... were you serving the Sand Cake, would you present it "as is," or with a "simple side of whipped cream," or iced, or what?
     
  8. isa

    isa

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    Why not be completly decadent and pour ganache over the cake?

    The Cake Bible suggest serving it with either a simple dusting of powdered sugar, chestnut buttercream, chestnut mousse cream or anything chocolate.
     
  9. subrosa

    subrosa

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    Is there a quart or so of whipped cream waiting in the background for this recipe. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense to me.

    Can chestnut flour be added to recipes without cooking (like flour or cornstarch)?
     
  10. subrosa

    subrosa

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    This is the whipped cream recipe I was referring to. I must be missing something here. Is there really only 1 1/2 T cream?
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2013
  11. siduri

    siduri

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    My mother was born in a very poor area of tuscany (garfagnana) near Lucca.  Their staple was chestnuts.  It was up in the (low) mountains and full of chestnut trees.  The houses all had a basement with open brickwork to dry chestnuts in. 

    She told me about the dishes they had. 

    1.  polenta di castagne - just water, salt and chestnut meal boiled together like polenta. 

    2.  I donl;t remember what they were called but kids would fill a thimble or a spoon with chestnut flour, pack it in and roast it near the fire.  (you hadda be hungry i guess)

    3.  Necci. (pronounced NECH-chee)  Necci were/are made with two flat irons, disks about a 9 to 10 inches across, attached to long handles, all cut from the same piece of steel or iron - not sure which.  You make a mixture of chestnut flour, water and salt like a crepe batter and when the irons have been sitting in the fire for a while, you pour it on one and put the other iron on top.  Then turn.  When cooked you remove and do another.  (These irons are perfectly flat, not like brigidini or other waffle-cookie irons, so more like soft crepes)

    these were eaten at "veglia" (when friends would come by after supper) and usually with some sheep ricotta. 

    4.  the ever-present castagnaccio

    I was all excited by these things, they sounded so wonderful, particularly because my mother, having grown up with them (and no doubt being pretty hungry as a kid) would talk about them as so wonderful.  Probably because they had little sugar and sweets except for holidays, but the fact is that apart from the Necci, i found them pretty awful.   The necci were tolerable.    Consider that she also remembered with pleasure how great stale bread dipped in water and vinegar with some onions on top was too.  When you're hungry, everything is great. 

    Gello (JEL-lo), the "town" she grew up in until she was 6 when the family all moved to boston, was on the side of the mountain, just a strip of houses and a church and a store and a baker (people didn;t have ovens, the baking was done by the baker or at holidays you'd reserve time with the oven to bake your own holiday cakes and cookies), and even in the 60s the road was dirt and the way up there was blocked all winter for the snow.  My grandfather, in his old age, decided to move back (it was the early 60s) but one winter there without central heating made him change his mind.  I went there in the late 70s and saw the house my mother grew up in, and the town which had grown a little (the strip of houses was longer, a few had built outside of the line of the main road). 

    Further up the mountain was the summer home of the Puccini family, and my grandfather and his brothers were friends with Puccini, who they met as kids when they would bring the sheep up there to graze. 

    All this sounds terribly romantic.  The place is gorgeous, with peaks of craggy tree-covered hills sticking up through the fog in the valley below, the smell of wood-burning heat.  And my second cousins still make the necci.  But i can't say i like the chestnut stuff. 
     
  12. antilope

    antilope

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    Last edited: Jul 11, 2013