The crust for Rustic Pizza from The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines (1989).
… an interesting bit of history. When chestnuts were near free, the locals in the Old World used them to make flour. The flour was not suitable for what we call bread but it did make a flavorful baked pulse, of a flat polenta. This is the background of this very early pizza.
Chestnuts are not near free, and chestnut flour ain’t cheap these days. I don’t think it’s available anywhere a regular Mouse– City or Country– might shop but you can find it on the World Wide Web for about $20/pound. The problem is that it has a very short shelf life. Several of the reviews on Amazon indicate that no matter where you order it from it can arrive rancid.
There are, in fact, two types of chestnut flour, raw and roasted. Raw is the more common (such as common is). Roasted is preferred by Hungarian bakers.
All that said, I substituted buckwheat flour for chestnut flour. Given what I’d read, I knew it would be impossible for me to recreate the flavor, but I like the distinctive flavor of buckwheat flour. I also knew that chestnut flour was gluten free, as is buckwheat flour, and since I didn’t know how that might affect the dish overall, I figured it was a safe bet.
Chestnut (Buckwheat) Focaccia
1 1/4 cups chestnut (buckwheat) flour
1 1/4 cups water
Olive oil for greasing the pan
2 Tbsp. pine nuts
1/4 tsp. whole rosemary [I also used about 1 Tbsp fresh oregano]
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Beat water and flour to a batter consistency. Oil a 12-inch round pizza try and pour batter on tray. [If making Rustic Pizza, you’ll put this in a 10-inch round cake pan or ovenproof skillet.] Spread out evenly and top with pinenuts and herbs, and sprinkle olive oil over the top. Bake at 380° for 25 minutes or until golden brown. [For Rustic Pizza you’ll top with filling and then bake.]
The Frug notes, “In the oldest versions of this dish, golden raisins were also used, thus making it a favorite of the Roman palate. However, I think the raisins make it much too sweet.”