Fruity Christmas Castagnaccio
This recipe has been inspired by my Italian roots. Traditionally Castagnaccio is a very humble recipe made with only chestnut flour and water. My version has been enriched with juicy dried fruits, dates, crunchy nuts and the sweet notes of orange. I love how the chopped chestnuts add so much more texture compared the classic version with only flour. The warm caramel sauce makes this cake even more luxurious making it the perfect end to any dinner party or ideal for a special afternoon treat.
The warm caramel sauce makes this cake even more luxurious making it the perfect end to any dinner party or ideal for a special afternoon treat.
Suitable for dairy-free, gluten-free, vegans and vegetarians
- 1 x 180g pouch Merchant Gourmet Whole Chestnuts
- 1 cup of chopped pitted dates
- 5 roughly dried figs
- ½ cup of sultanas
- ½ cup of mixed chopped nuts (I have used a mix of pecans, walnuts and almonds)
- The juice of ½ orange
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of almond milk
- 2 cups of spelt flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1 tablespoon of all spice
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
For the date caramel orange
- 4 tablespoons of almond butter
- 7 pitted chopped dates
- The juice and the zest of ½ orange
- ½ cup of water
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1.Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees
2.Place the chopped dates, water and almond milk in a pan and put in on a medium heat. Cover with a lid and cook the dates gently for 20-25 minutes until the dates become almost like a paste
3.Chopped half of the pack of chestnut in small pieces and mash the other half with a fork until you have a crumbly flour
4.Add the chopped figs, nuts, sultanas, all the chestnuts (pieces +flour) orange juice, all spice and cinnamon. Mix everything together and cook for another 10 minutes
5.Remove the pan from the heat and add the spelt flavour and the baking soda. Mix everything well and pour the cake mixture into the tin. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon or a spatula
6.Bake in the oven for 1 hour, halfway through cover the top with foil to prevent the top from burning
7.While the cake bakes make the caramel sauce: place the chopped dates, water, orange juice and zest into a pan and bring it to boil. Turn the heat down and cover with a lid. Cook the dates gently for 10 minutes until they become squishy and soft. Add more water if needed. Add the almond butter and stir everything well together. Cook for a further 5 minutes
8.Remove from the pan from the heat and with a hand blender blitz the sauce until is all smooth and creamy
9.Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool down completely in the tin. Once cold sliced the Castagnaccio into slices
10.Serve with the warm caramel sauce poured on top
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