I have a confession to make…after 17 years of growing chestnuts I have finally made my first Torta di Castagne (chestnut cake). So why did it take me so many years to attempt this…well two excuses time and fear. I’m not a great cake maker…you know common problems the cake stodgy or sunken in the middle and the big one…the cake sticking to the pan and falling apart! Well I faced my fears and the cake was a huge success…beautifully cooked and in one piece…oh and delicious!
This cake is easy to make, gluten free and very moreish!
Torta di Castagne
100g Almond Meal
230g Caster Sugar
100g Good Quality Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa)
800g Fresh Chestnuts
2 Cups Milk
4 Eggs Separated
100g Unsalted Butter
Grated Zest of Half an Orange
Butter and line a 23cm spring form cake tin.
Pre-heat the oven, 160 degrees celsius (fan forced), 180 degrees regular oven.
Peel the chestnuts using a potato peeler (make sure you remove the bitter inner skin to reveal the cream chestnut), chop the chestnuts. Add chopped chestnuts to saucepan with one cup of the milk, simmer until tender (about 15 minutes), add more milk if required.
In the meantime grate the chocolate and add to the almond meal, combine. Melt the butter over low heat, set aside to cool.
When tender pass the chestnuts through a sieve. I left a few chopped pieces of chestnut to give more structure to the cake. The result a chestnut puree with small chopped pieces. When cool add the chestnut puree to the almond and chocolate, combine.
In a large bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick. Add the cool melted butter, combine. Add the chestnut mixture and orange zest, combine.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, fold into the chestnut mixture.
Pour the chestnut mixture into the cake tin over the back of a wooden spoon (folds in more air). Make sure the cake mixture is level in the tin.
Bake in the centre of the oven for one hour.
Remove from oven, allow to cool for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the cake from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
Dust with icing sugar and serve with or without cream.