Breakfast in Bed – Corsican Chestnut Cake

Corsican Chestnut Cake 9

Post by Alison Hein.

Brian B, our favorite Chief Operating Officer at Charles P. Rogers & Co., has tasked me with coming up with a fabulous cake recipe for Halloween. Well, this isn’t it, but it is a cake, and here’s what got me started thinking about it:

Brian asks me to think of a great idea…

My mind is blank…

I start googling Halloween cakes but am not inspired by my findings…

I turn to my old cookbooks and start leafing through…

I remember Rosemary Cookies, an old Halloween tradition of baking cookies into shapes for remembrance…

And then I remember Corsican Chestnut Cake, a version strewn with rosemary and pine nuts.

Corsican Chestnut Cake 1

Also known as Pisticcini, this in-between sweet and savory cake recipe was adapted from The Book of Bread by Judith and Evan Jones. There is a long history of growing chestnuts in Corsica, where the flour is used to produce bread, pancakes, porridge, and traditional polenta. Oh yeah, and cake.

Chestnut flour is rich, dense, and sweetish, and does not suit everyone’s palate. Some cakes are baked with butter and milk and sometimes a mixture of white flour, but I like the simplicity of just a couple of eggs to create a light, firm dough. Fresh rosemary, pine nuts, and a splash of sea salt adorn the top of the cake and add balance. Try a thin slice, served warm, with a strong cup of black tea for a Corsican breakfast in bed.

P.S. Stay tuned for Brian’s cake!

Corsican Chestnut Cake 2


2 cups chestnut flour (available in Italian specialty shops, gourmet shops, or online)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 eggs
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Corsican Chestnut Cake 4


Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, mix together chestnut flour, water, 2 tablespoons olive oil, eggs and sugar. Pour batter into greased round cake or pie pan (about 9 inches in diameter). Sprinkle top with rosemary, pine nuts and sea salt.

Bake until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the pan, and the surface is lightly cracked. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and serve warm.

Makes 1 9-inch round cake.

Corsican Chestnut Cake 6

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