Monday, December 28, 2015

Straight From Tuscany, Light and Delicious Chestnut Cake With Chocolate Ganache.

   It's the week after Christmas and as we enter the run up to New Years Eve and New Years Day and all that entails, there's been a whole lot of baking going on at our house. Part of the reason for that is the work that I've been doing for the new CocoaPlanet Cafe which will be opening here in Sonoma in the new year. All of the Pastries, and pastas are going to be gluten free so every week involves baking, and cooking, and every Saturday night for the last month or so, recipe testing and tasting. One of the naturally gluten free flours I have enjoyed using is an old standby from my childhood, Chestnut flour.
   Chestnut flour has long been part of Cucina Povera, or the Kitchen of the Poor, aka peasant food. It's a method of cooking using what is found and easily and cheaply accessible. Chestnuts and chestnut flour are one of those pantry staples that fits the bill. My family on both sides comes originally from Tuscany and the Piedmont region in Northern Italy and chestnut delicacies were often found on the family table at holidays. One of those delicacies is this light and delicious Chestnut Cake.

  I have a lot of gluten free friends and have cooked for them for years. Working with Indian food, leaving out gluten is pretty dang easy. Because of that, I always think the best gluten free food is stuff that is not a deliberate recreation of gluten laden foods, made gluten free, but recipes that were never made containing gluten. That way everybody wins. So if you get some chestnut flour (I found it easily on Amazon) a whole world of naturally gluten free baking opens up. Hello chestnut cake.

Chestnut Cake With Chocolate Ganache 


Here's What You Need: 
1 cup plus 1 Tbs chestnut flour
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbs sugar
7 Tbs salted butter at room temperature
3 Tbs milk
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder

Here's What To Do:
Preheat the oven to 320 degrees.
Take an 8 inch cake pan and grease it well.
Cut a piece of parchment paper and place it in the bottom of the cake pan.

Cut it to size.

Grease the paper too.

Set it aside.
Run the chestnut flour through a sieve or wire mesh basket to get out any lumps.

 Put all the ingredients for the cake in a large bowl and mix until the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the well greased cake pan.

Place it in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. You'll know it's done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Then run a knife around the outside of the cake.

Place a plate over the top of the cake and upend it. Removing the cake from the pan. The bottom of the cake is now the top.
Remove the greased parchment paper from the top of the cake.
Prepare your ganache icing.


Here's What You Need:
 Five rounds (about 5 oz) of Cocoaplanet Deep Dark Truffle Chocolate
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream

Here's What To Do:
Gently melt the chocolate in a pan.

add in 2 Tbs unsalted butter.
Stir well.
Add in about 1/2 cup of whipping cream.

Mix everything together well. When the ganache is shiny and smooth set it aside to cool a bit.

When it has cooled sufficiently, start to ice your cake.

Pour the cooled ganache over the top and using a frosting knife smooth it around the sides.
Let the ganache set and when it has firmed up. Serve it up!

   There it is, a Tuscan treat. "Poor mans cake" made luxurious with chocolate.
Coming up next a quick and easy way to make Butternut Squash Risotto courtesy of my Friend Judy of Divina Cucina. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

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