Chestnut Almond Cake (Torta Pisticcina)

This recipe left me dumbfounded.  You literally just mix everything in a bowl with a spatula.  No careful separation of eggs, no patient creaming of butter, no cumbersome whisking till stiff peaks – you put a handful of ingredients into a bowl, stir, pour into a lined cake tin and bake in a preheated oven.  I was dubious of the outcome, but the cake was dense, moist, earthy and all the positive adjectives you can associate a dessert with.
img_0116Winter time always brings up fond memories of those delicious overpriced roasted chestnuts on the streets, and they’re even better in China as they’re cooked with a load of sugar.   They also sell them packaged like a bag of nuts, you know, but a bag of peeled chestnuts.  I don’t understand why some wonderful Asian sack concepts have not yet made it to the West.  Instead, the current trendy snack concepts are fried crickets spiced with cumin.  They’re okay, they don’t taste of much, mainly of cumin. Crunchy.
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So here’s a quick, easy, little-washing-up treat you can make anytime at all.  You can probably substitute the milk and butter for vegan alternatives too.  It’s so good.  I’m not really blowing my own trumpet, because it’s Saveur’s recipe, and Saveur never fails, so I can say it – it’s absolutely addictive, the only thing I’ve done is reduce the sugar by a quarter because the content terrified the hypchondriac in me.  It’s like mashed chestnuts with sugar.

Recipe from Saveur
Ingredients
170g (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
170g (3/4 cup) sugar
120ml (1cup) milk
1 tsp salt
Zest of 1orange
240g (2 cups) chestnut flour
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Method
Preheat oven to 180C/375F.

Line a 10″ cake tin.   Stir together the butter, sugar milk, salt and zest of orange until well combined.   Then stir in the chestnut flour and lastly the blanched almonds.  Pour into a cake tin and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake until browned and set, about 30 min.

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