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Italian chestnut flour cake with raisins

This is not the traditional castagnaccio whose recipe you may find on cookery books: it is widespread all around Italy and every Region, every city, even every family has got its own recipe whose secrets will never be revealed! 
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Italian
Keyword castagnaccio, castagnaccio ferrarese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • 400 gr chestnut flour 
  • 150 gr dried figs 
  • 80 gr raisins
  • 2 tbsp shelled pine-nuts or almonds
  • 1 tbsp grappa (typical Italian spirit from Norther Italy) or rum
  • 1 tbsp olive or seed oil 
  • little butter to grease the baking pan (you don’t need it if you use parchment paper) 
  • 1/2 tsp salt dissolved in water 
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla baking powder
  • zest of half a lemon
  • half skimmed milk enough for a quite soft batter (about 400ml)

Instructions

  • Soak the raisins in hot water in a small bowl; 
  • In another mixing bowl combine grappa (or rum), oil, and the salt you have diluted in little water (you want only a very small glass);
  • Sift in the chestnut flour to avoid any clumps and pour in some milk; 
  • Combine vigorously with a whisk, add some flour and then milk until a smooth even batter;
  • Add the lemon zest; 
  • Pour some more milk until a very soft, almost liquid batter; 
  • Add the baking powder; 
  • Stir well to combine until an even mixture; 
  • Add the well squeezed raisins and the coarsely chopped figs according to your taste; I prefer small pieces; 
  • Pour the batter into a greased (or lined with parchment paper)  baking pan;
  • Pre-heat the static oven at 180°C (356°) and bake for 30-35 minutes; 
  • Allow to cool down completely and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  
  • Do you feel like a scent of Tuscany? Add a few leaves of rosemary, it will give a really pleasant aroma.