I’m lucky enough to have moved to an area where there’s an abundance of wild chestnuts to forage; because we’d never seen so many before, we enthusiastically collected as much as we could. Eventually tiring of eating roasted chestnuts and not wanting to waste any, I cooked and peeled them all. To preserve, I froze some whole and roughly ground up the rest, portioning into small bags for freezing. Here in New Zealand chestnut flour isn’t a common product. So for my own use, I decided to find out how to make chestnut flour … and it’s really really easy.
Chestnut flour can be used for a variety of recipes, in cakes, pancakes, pasta, but my new favourite use for it is Castagnaccio. Added to bread with a blend of wheat, chestnut flour adds a sweet, nutty flavour and is delicious.
How to make Chestnut Flour
Spread frozen whole or ground chestnuts out in a single layer on a lined baking sheet to thaw. If using ready whole chestnuts, pulse in a blender until they resemble a coarse powder then spread on a lined baking sheet.
Use a dehydrator or preheat your oven to 70ºC or lower if possible to dehydrate the ground chestnuts without roasting them further.
Stir them occasionally and rotate the baking sheet to ensure even drying, this may take a few hours.
Once completely dry, let the chestnuts cool to room temperature. Use a food processor or a high-powered blender to grind the chestnuts in small batches. If you have a grain mill, that’s even better for making fine flour.
Sift the ground chestnuts through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any larger pieces or chunks that didn’t grind properly. You can re-grind these chunks or save them for a recipe that requires a coarser texture.
Store the chestnut flour in an airtight container to keep it from absorbing moisture from the air. For longer shelf life, you can keep it in the refrigerator or even freeze it.