I have a new favorite Paleo flour: chestnut flour. I bought some just to play with it and it’s amazing! It’s very fine (like all purpose flour fine) and yields a wonderful texture in baking with a nice subtle flavor. It’s more like wheat flour than any other nut flour I’ve tried (doesn’t bind quite as well as wheat flour but a little better than almond flour). I think you’ll be seeing a lot more recipes featuring chestnut flour from me in the future.
This recipe started as a revamp of my pumpkin pie squares. I’ve been slowly going through some of my older baking recipes that use a lot of flax and tinker with them to get rid of the flax seed. I’m not opposed to using flax when there really are no other options in terms of baking chemistry and we’re talking about an occasional treat…. but if I can make it flax-free, that’s what I would prefer health wise (now that I know that flax is crazy high in phytoestrogens). Since I was also in a playing with chestnut flour mood and then had this idea that I wanted pieces of walnuts in the squares and then decided to increase the recipe by 50%… well, one thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was baking my squares in a tube pan. So, this recipe is sort-of a revamp (in the sense that it’s a cakey thing with a pumpkin pie flavor)–and I’m sure you could make squares if you baked this in a greased 9″ x 13″ pan (omit the walnuts to be closer to the original recipe)– but, really, this recipe has evolved enough that it stands on it’s own as Pumpkin Pie Coffee Cake.
I made my own pumpkin puree for this cake, although you could use canned too. My favorite way to make pumpkin puree is to take a pie pumpkin (or two or six), pierce a few times with a knife, place in a 350F oven and bake for 1 hour (or more if your pumpkins are on the larger side). Let cool enough to handle. Cut in half, easily scoop out the seeds, then scoop out the pumpkin flesh or peel the peel right off… Very easy and you get a nice thick puree (especially compared to boiling or steaming).
I’ve also made a recent discovery: Pure Indian Foods Organic Cultured Grass-fed Ghee. The culturing degrades the casein before clarifying, and compared to regular ghee which does contain trace casein, this has none. Even my SUPER sensitive younger daughter can eat this (and she can’t eat a piece of fruit that was cut on a board that cheese was cut on and then rinsed rather than sterilized). I’ve been enjoying it myself and love the flavor in baking! You could substitute regular ghee or butter too, or even palm shortening or lard.
Yield: one coffee cake
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cup chestnut flour
- 2 Tbsp coconut flour, sifted
- 2 Tbsp tapioca starch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ginger
- 3/4 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp cloves
- 3/4 tsp allspice
- 3/4 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cups chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a tube pan (or bundt pan) with ghee, butter or coconut oil or use a silicone pan.
- Combine all ingredients except the chopped walnuts in a blender and process until smooth (yes, it is that easy).
- Fold in chopped nuts. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes (or until it passes the toothpick test).
Notes: In a loaf pan, this recipe took 55 minutes to cook through. You can also turn these into some pretty awesome muffins, which only take 20 minutes to bake.
Substitutions: I often get asked about substitutions, and this is a challenging question to answer because, believe it or not, I don’t try every possible permutation of ingredients for every recipe. This recipe works wonderfully (I’ve made it three times!). I think you could sub almond flour for chestnut flour, but you might need an extra quarter or half cup because it’s not as fine. I think you could substitute arrowroot for tapioca. Yes, you might be able to use an egg replacer in this recipe. If you want to play with subbing coconut flour, you’ll need at least 1/2 cup of whatever you choose. I’m confident that you could use lard or palm shortening instead of ghee or butter. I think coconut oil or even avocado oil would work too. You can definitely sub pumpkin pie spice or your favorite spice blend for the seasoning I list here. You can omit the walnuts or sub any chopped nut you like.