Mont Blanc – the Pinnacle of Every Chestnut’s Career

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T

he name Mont Blanc comes from the name of the highest mountain in the Alps, as the dessert resembles a snow-capped mountain. It is popular in France, Italy, central Europe, China, and Japan! Mont Blanc is made of dried meringue base, Chantilly cream, and chestnut paste vermicelli on the top.

Chestnuts, unlike other nuts, contain very little fat and protein, and they are made mostly of carbohydrates (50%) and water (45%). These delicious autumnal fruits are also packed with vitamin C, zinc, potassium, iron, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus and calcium. Chestnut is a versatile ingredient – you can roast it and eat it as is, you can make a soup, a stuffing, a risotto or a sauce. The interesting fact I’ve learned recently is that you can make beer out of chestnuts! I’ve never tasted one, but I want to! Candied chestnut or marron glacée is an expensive delicacy, adored in France, especially during Christmas holidays. You can dry chestnuts and grind them into flour and make bread or cakes. However, there is a particular dessert so exquisite and elegant that every chestnut dreams to be a part of. You’ve guessed – it is Mont Blanc!

The first time I ran across the dessert called “Mont Blanc” [mɔ̃ blɑ̃] was during my first stay in the city of love and pâtisserie – Paris. Actually, at that time I didn’t really know exactly what kind of dessert it was; however, in our school the best teaching chefs passionately recommended us to visit one of the Angelina pastry shops, or as the French say salon de thé, and to taste their signature pastry – Mont Blanc.

Salon de thé, or a tearoom isn’t just the place where you can enjoy a nice cup of tea, oh no! There you can have a delicious lunch, a snack, an exquisite dessert along with a cup of tea, coffee, or the best hot chocolate in Paris, served with lovely whipped cream, as they do it chez Angelina.

So, on the first free Sunday, my dear friend and flat mate Dragana and I headed for the famous department store “Galeries Lafayette” since there was the closest Angelina, planning to do some shopping before and after the tasting, of course. :)

Anyway, at the first floor of this really huge store, when we found the entrance of “Angelina”, hidden between a couple of exclusive boutiques, we set our eyes on the pastry window display. And there it was – a cupcake-like little thing with distinctive chestnut cream vermicellii on the top, yum! The mere sight of this delicacy was enough for both of us to forget about shopping, can you believe it? Anyway, we ordered and, what a treat for our inquisitive taste buds it was! There was a symphony of flavors and textures in my mouth – a light, crispy meringue, heavenly vanilla Chantilly cream, and perfectly smooth and tasty chestnut cream, all together complimented each other. Simply beautiful! It’s no wonder that every self respecting, career-oriented chestnut dreams to peak on Mont Blanc – it is as high as they can go!

If you are not planning to visit Paris in the near future, and you would like to taste this lovely delight, I am sharing my version of Mont Blanc in. Don’t worry, it isn’t that difficult! You will need to make French meringue for this recipe. On top of dried meringue you will pipe some Chantilly cream, and after that you get to play with chestnut puree – all in all, a piece of cake!

Mont Blanc, Pastry Maestra

Mont Blanc Recipe

by:Tereza Alabanda,The Pastry Maestra

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Prep. time : 40 minutes

Cook time : 45 minutes

Ready in 85 minutes

Level : Advanced

Meringue Base:

  • Egg whites 150g (5.3oz)
  • Sugar 150g (5.3oz)
  • Powdered sugar 150g (5.3oz)

Chantilly Cream:

  • Whipping cream 500g (2 cups)
  • Powdered sugar 50g (1.8oz)
  • Vanilla powder to taste

Chestnut Topping:

  • Candied chestnut paste 250g (8.8oz)
  • Rum 30ml (2Tbsp)

Directions

  1. Make French meringue from egg whites and sugar. Place egg whites into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment and mix them on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add sugar gradually, and continue whisking until firm peaks form. Fold in sifted powdered sugar with a silicone spatula. Put the meringue into a piping bag fitted with large star tip, and pipe discs about 10cm (4 inches) in diameter.
  2. Dry the meringue discs in the oven at 100°C (210°F) for about 35-45 minutes, until they are completely dried.
  3. When they are done, take them out to cool.
  4. Make Chantilly cream. Whisk cold whipping cream with powdered sugar and vanilla powder until soft peaks form. Pipe the Chantilly generously on top of the each cooled meringue disc using round 20mm (34 inch) piping tip.
  5. Mix chestnut paste with rum until you get a smooth mixture. If your chestnut paste isn’t sweetened, add powdered sugar to taste. If your paste is too dense, feel free to add some liquid double cream to make it pipeable.
  6. Put your chestnut paste into a piping bag fitted with a basketweave tip, and pipe it vertically from the meringue, up to the top of the Chantilly.
  7. Dust Mont Blanc with powdered sugar.

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