Growing up, I used to hate eating chestnuts. It’s very typical in Spain to eat them raw or roasted on the fire; and it’s a traditional scene during the fall and winter to see the vendors with their roasting carts on the streets selling roasted chestnuts and other goodies. I did and still do love the smell of roasted chestnuts… it symbolises the beginning of autumn and the beautiful holiday season to come.
And to-day, I actually love to eat them, especially when they are vapor-cooked and so sweet. (I’m still not keen about the raw ones…) And now, I have discovered chestnut flour! My mother says there used to be a lot of desserts and dishes that were made in Southern Spain with chestnut flour. But I’ve never knowingly tried anything nor made anything with it before. But during the Christmas holidays, I stole a number of recipes from my mother’s collection (Mama… remember the recipe of the wilted kale you were asking for the other day…well, I DO have it ;-)).
The other day, I tried experimenting with chestnut flour and almond flour together to make some breakfast bread; and although the flavour was really good, the texture was not quite right. But while I’m still working on perfecting that recipe (to share with all of you), I was intrigued by this one and can’t rave enough about it!
This tart below is de-li-cious!!! Don’t be tempted to add any sweetener (until you make it at least once), as it has just the perfect sweet combination with the sultanas and the chestnut flour, which is quite sweet on its own. Additionally, for those of you with egg allergies or just wanting to make something without eggs, this is a perfect recipe to build upon! And the additional plus is that it is really, totally sugar or sweetener free!
CHESTNUT-ROSEMARY TART (or PAN, as it’s called in Spain)
Ingredients, for one 19cm or 7in diameter-tart (it comes out to about 3cm in height)
- 150g chestnut flour
- 250ml water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- a pinch of sea salt
- 1/4 cup sultana raisins (more if desired, up to 1/2 cup recommended for a sweeter tart)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- freshly ground rosemary (I used about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease with some olive oil a small tart pan (19cm or 7in diameter). Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix the chestnut flour, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt. Add the water, whilst whisking until smooth. The mixture will be quite liquid.
- Add the sultanas and mix well.
- Pour into the tart pan and sprinkle with pine nuts and some ground rosemary or rosemary sprigs over top.
- Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over top.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.
Make it now, and I dare you to have just one piece! Enjoy!
*Just a side note about chestnuts: they are the highest alkaline producing nuts, are a good source of fiber, rich in Vitamin C, rich in folates (folic acid), they are a rich source of mono un-saturated fatty acids, are an excellent source of iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. Plus, they contain a number of other Vitamin Bs. And of course, they are gluten free. I wish I would’ve like them more as a child, but now is not too late to start enjoying all their goodness.
**A note on variations possible: you can use other types of dried fruit, such as apricots or prunes instead of the raisins; also, you can use slivered almonds or coarsely ground almonds or another nut instead of the pine nuts. Other fresh or dried herbs can be used as well, such as thyme or oregano. Experiment depending on your taste buds and mood… and above all, have fun with this recipe!