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FLORENTINE CASTAGNACCIO (CHESTNUT
CAKE)
 
2 3/4 cups chestnut flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water (more or less)
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 sprig fresh rosemary or 1 tsp. dried (optional)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup olive oil

This Italian cake is a Tuscan specialty that is often prepared in the Autumn of the year, and sold by street vendors in Florence. The cake has very heavy texture and an unusual flavor, and can be quite addicting. Chestnut flour is available in specialty shops or online.

Sift together flour, sugar and salt in mixing bowl. Add water and beat until smooth. The batter should have no lumps (more or less water may be needed, depending upon conditions).

Stir in fennel seeds, rosemary (if using) and pine nuts (save a few teaspoons of these ingredients for the top of the cake).

Generously grease a large round cake pan (or several cake pans) with the 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Note: The cake pan (s) used should be large enough for the batter in the pan to be about 1/2-inch thick.

Sprinkle the reserved toppings over the cake and drizzle with the remaining olive oil.

Bake in a preheated 375F oven for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. The cake may be served warm or at room temperature.

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