Chestnuts are the flavour of autumn in Southern Tuscany. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I don’t particularly enjoy eating them on their own regardless of whether they’re roasted over the fire or boiled in red wine, as my parents-in-law like to prepare them. I admit they have the consistency of wet flour.
But I don’t mind them as an ingredient in dishes. The have a really earthy and sweet flavour that makes them perfect for stews, sauces and these olive oil biscuits. This recipe uses chestnut flour. Mine is locally sourced from Monte Amiata. These guys are famous for their chestnuts and have been making flour there for generations – originally because they couldn’t afford wheat flour as wheat was impossible to grow in the mountains and ridiculously expensive. It’s funny how things have changed. Now it’s chestnut flour that’s expensive.
These biscuits are flavoured with another Tuscan classic – rosemary, but you could sprinkle them with chopped walnuts, cracked black pepper, garlic, whatever you have on hand. Just be sure to serve them with a gorgeous soft cheese (I’m using brie) and plenty of delicious cold cuts.
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup chestnut flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
Place all the ingredients, except the rosemary, in the bowl of your electric mixer. Using the dough hook, mix for 3-4 minutes or until you get a smooth ball. Wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until wafer thin. Cut into rough 4cm strips and place on trays lined with baking paper. Brush with olive oil and scatter over the rosemary. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden.
Serve with soft cheese, figs, prosciutto, pate, dips and whatever else you fancy for an aperitivo!