I was working on a post on dried chestnuts of Bormida Valley a Slow Food presidia of the Italian Riviera (coming soon, its a kinda small reportage) and I thought that in addition to the charm history behind this ancient product I should have given some ideas on how to use them.
So I boiled the dried chestnuts I had in my pantry – just those of the Slow Food presidia which were dried with an ancient technique and bear a wonderful smoky flavor – and prepared the chestnuts cake that every single fall my aunt prepares (I actually ignore the origin of the recipe, I just call it My Aunt Chestnuts Cake).
Two tests and some small amendments made the recipe not only gluten free but, at my fair and honest judgement, simply perfect (dear auntie, no offense): really soft but solid, slightly humid but velvety, with those small pieces of chestnut that some times crock under the theeth. The cocoa powder exactly balances the sweetness of the chestnuts. The butter is very low so it’s light too.
And the cool is that when using dried chestnuts you don’t have to wait for fall to enjoy the full and velvety flavor of cakes like this (btw this was just the original purpose of dried chestnuts: be available all the year long) nor you have to mess with peeling a huge mountain of chestnuts with a low yields .
Dried chestnuts are so easy: you just have to wash them, put them in a pan with cold water and a pinch of salt and let them cook at low fire for about two hours. They will more than double their weight and once drained will be just ready for use.
Try them, better with this terrific recipe!
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