Good Food Blog
Chestnut flour - the recipe for great cakePosted at 9:56AM, 09 January 2008 by Mary Cadogan - Food writer
I recently discovered an ancient mill tucked away in a pretty river valley near my home in the Charente, that not only produces organic wheat and maize flours, but also presses exquisite walnut and hazelnut oils, and grinds the cake that is left after the oil is extracted into nut flour. Lucky for me, locals and visitors, the mill is open every day, selling produce and showing visitors around.
At this time of year they sell chestnut flour which I always make the most of when it's available due to its short shelf life. It has a mildly nutty flavour and is very fine in texture so the Lemon crème fraîche and chestnut cake I made with it came out beautifully light and delicate.
Actually I can't praise chestnut flour enough as it's great to serve friends with a wheat intolerance. And it gives much nicer results than other heavier grains, with none of the dry gritty texture often associated with wheat-free baking. I've found out that Shipton Mill and Let's Go Italian sell the flour online, as well as the special selection in the larger Sainsbury's branches.
I must come clean and confess that I can't take all the credit for this Lemon crème fraîche and chestnut cake as I adapted it from the one given to me at the mill. I have made it a couple of times now and I reckon it's pretty damn good, though perhaps a chocolate frosting wouldn't go amiss. It uses crème fraîche in place of butter and the little bit of lemon zest balances the chestnut flavour really well. I keep it in a tin for up to a week, or if I know I'm not going to get through it, freeze it for a couple of months maximum. For a treat, I sometimes warm it through and serve with cinnamon or chocolate ice cream and have it for pud...