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Autumn is coming and chestnuts are coming back with it! A fruit loved by young and old, the chestnut is the star of the table on the Amalfi Coast as well. Discover one of the tastiest coastal recipes: chestnut tart!

by Roberta Cascone

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of autumn? It's bound to be things like falling leaves, the coming of rain, warm evenings at home, and... I bet chestnuts! This tasty fruit can only be enjoyed during a short time of the year, so as soon as autumn arrives, you need to take advantage of it!
Moreover, since the chestnut is a super versatile fruit in the kitchen and can be used in both savory and sweet recipes, it is really hard not to appreciate it!
There is a place on the Amalfi Coast that is famous for its chestnuts: it is Scala, the oldest village on the Divine Coast.
Nestled in the green Lattari Mountains, it is rich in chestnut groves, and every October it hosts the Chestnut Festival, which, with concerts, shows and many food stands, always wins great public acclaim. Among all the chestnut dishes, from starters to desserts, there is one that is particularly important to Scala: the chestnut tart!

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The chestnut festival in Scala. Ph by

Scala's chestnut tart

At the center of the village of Scala stands the historic Mansi Pastry Shop. If you want to taste chestnut specialties and especially Scala's tart, you have to come right here: they are indeed the autumn highlights at Mansi's, which has been offering customers first-rate products for several decades. 
If, on the other hand, you want to try your hand at cooking it yourself, here's the recipe!

Chestnuts and the tart. Ph. by

How to make the chestnut tart

The chestnut tart typical of Scala is a full-bodied dessert: the outside is a classic short pastry dough, while the cream inside is flavored with vanilla and a shot of rum. I recommend using large chestnuts so that you will not have difficulty when you have to remove the peels. 

Here are the ingredients that you will need:

For the shortcrust pastry:

  • Flour 00 500 gr
  • Butter 250 gr
  • Powdered sugar 200 gr
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 lemon peel
  • ½ sachet of yeast

For the filling:

  • 500 gr of chestnut puree
  • 1 lt of custard
  • 300 gr of dark chocolate
  • 1 shot of rum
  • 2 vanilla sachets
  • 1 glass of cream
  • 100 gr of candied fruit

Finally, you will need butter and flour to grease and dust your cake pan.

You will also need 1 egg to brush the shortcrust pastry before putting the tart in the oven.



First, start by preparing the filling: wash the chestnuts, then boil them in water for 15 minutes. Drain and let the chestnuts cool, then use a sharp knife to peel them off. Once peeled, grind them in the masher until a sandy mixture is obtained.
Combine the chestnut puree with the warm custard; add the glass of cream, then the sugar, chopped dark chocolate, rum, vanilla, and candied fruit. 

Mix the mixture well to blend the ingredients.

Then prepare the shortcrust pastry: pour the flour and butter in chunks into a mixer. When you have obtained a sandy mixture, transfer it to a pastry board and form a hollow in the center. Combine the powdered sugar, egg yolks, baking powder and grated lemon zest, then knead with your hands until you get a smooth dough ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for half an hour. 

Roll out the shortcrust pastry and line a medium-sized baking pan, after buttering and flouring it. 

Pour the filling inside the pan and arrange the shortcrust pastry strips on the surface to make the classic tart lozenges. 

Finally, brush the shortcrust pastry with an egg and bake in a static oven preheated to 180° for about an hour.

Once baked, let it cool and then serve!

The filling of the chestnut tart. Ph. by

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  • Another incredible chestnut dessert created by the Mansi pastry shop is chestnut puffs in bay leaf sauce on a bed of persimmon cream. In 2008, this recipe even won first prize in the national gastronomic competition in Castelnuovo di Garfagnana.

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