I recently came across a sample of chestnut flour from RC Farms in McMinnville, Oregon, the same farm that supplies Harvester Brewing with the chestnuts for their fabulous gluten-free ales. I’ve never actually cooked with chestnut flour before, but it had such a sweet smell and soft, downy texture that I couldn’t wait to dig in.
As you may recall, I can’t stand baking, but I felt like this chestnut flour deserved special treatment. (In other words, I decided not to experiment, but to sample the goods in a tried-and-true recipe.) I investigated a number of dishes that incorporate chestnut flour, and found several recipes for what seems to be a traditional Corsican treat called Torta Pisticcina, or chestnut flour tart. I was particularly intrigued by this version in Saveur magazine, likely because David McAninch’s accompanying article made me want to hop a plane to Corsica. (Maybe next summer!) Regardless, the recipe is dead-simple to throw together. It’s truly a one-dirty-bowl, five-minutes-of-actual-work kind of dessert, which is my favorite kind to make. I was expecting something super dense–almost hard–because of the lack of eggs (and the original photo), but this cake is moist, chewy, and crazy easy to make. (If I did it, you can, too.) A slice would be perfect with afternoon tea, or dolloped with lightly whipped cream for dessert.
One thing I’d like to point out about this cake is that it’s naturally gluten free and consequently my ideal type of dessert. If I can avoid the starch overload I get from so many of the “gluten free” baked goods, my body is happier for it. I’d also like to take this opportunity to give saveur.com a big high-five for their searchable category entitled “Naturally Gluten-Free Desserts“. This is a HUGE step in my mind. I used to work for the mainstream food media (Food & Wine) and I fully understand that it’s not their mission to be go-to sources for those with food sensitivities. Consequently I never expect a four page spread on gluten-free desserts, but I do appreciate when they take the extra step of labeling their recipes. Not only does it offer me the opportunity to try some great new dishes, but it also conveys the message that these recipes are delicious for everyone, gluten free or not.
What are your favorite naturally gluten-free desserts? (Mine is ice cream. I’m pretty simple.) Let me know in the comments. Cheers! ~LbR