Mont Blanc is a traditional dessert named after the Alps Mountains as it was usually made to resemble a snow-capped dome. It consists of 3 main components: Meringues, Creme Chantilly and Chestnut Puree. I revamped mine and incorporated chocolate to the puree. It is a decadent dessert but not overly sweet, so you can eat it all and ask for seconds.
I prepare my own chestnut puree from whole steamed chestnuts, that I cook a second time with a little bit of sugar and water until completely soft. Then comes the chocolate. Everything is better with chocolate… ;)
The recipe may seem overwhelming but you can make the meringues up to 5 days ahead (and store them in an air tight container) or even easier; you can buy good quality meringues from a local bakery.
As for the Chantilly, my friendly advice is to prepare it just before your guests arrive and keep it covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until dessert time. (You don’t want to be making a lot of noise [stand mixer + whisk + cream] and stressing about the Chantilly while your guests are waiting for you and your masterpiece… trust me. I have been there, a classified number of times!)
Recipe credits: Rafaella Sargi
You can buy good quality meringues from a local bakery. If you are up for the challenge and have some free time for “meringues from scratch” here are the proportions I use.
I work with fresh eggs and not pre-packaged liquid egg-whites.
My principal ratio is 1/4 cup of granulated sugar for every egg white. (I use extra large organic eggs).
Egg whites from 6 eggs (approx 200g) at room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar (320g)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy and almost double in volume. Slowly add the sugar, a little at a time until all the sugar has been incorporated and the egg whites are whipped to a stiff stage: the mixture should look glossy, shiny.
Pipe or shape as desired on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven 225F (105C). Depending on the size and shape of your meringues, baking time might take around 2 hours. When the meringues are cooked through and hold their shape upon handling turn the oven off. Put a wooden spoon to keep the oven door open slightly open and allow the meringues to cool down in the oven,… slowly!
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoon powdered sugar, sifted
Scale and prep all the ingredients.
You will need one stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, over medium speed, whisk the heavy cream and the vanilla. When the consistency of the cream starts to thickens add the powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time until you achieve a silky and smooth Chantilly. Remove the bowl from its stand, cover with plastic wrap and reserve in the fridge until ready to use.
Chestnut Puree Ingredients
2 cups (around 350g / 12oz) steamed whole chestnuts*
1 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
Chestnut Puree Directions
Scale and prep all the ingredients.
You will need a small pot with a lid, a food processor with the blade attachment and a piping bag with a small simple tip.
In a small pot, over medium heat, mix the chestnuts, with water and sugar then bring to a boil. Cover and lower the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 30 minutes at least. They should become super soft and brake into small pieces. Add a little bit of water if the pot dries out before reaching the right consistency. You are not making a soup,… but keep a little amount of water to help with the cooking.)
Melt the chocolate and set aside.
Transfer the pot content (chestnuts + liquids) to the bowl a food processor. Add the cream and melted chocolate and mix until the chestnut puree become homogeneous and soft paste consistency. If you need to soften it a little bit more, you can incorporate 1 or 2 additional tablespoons of heavy cream…
Let the puree cool down then fill a piping bag with this chestnut-chocolate mixture.
Building the MONT BLANC
In individual bowlS (or serving dish of your choice), start with a layer of meringues, top that with two generous dollops of creme Chantilly. Follow with another layer of meringues, chestnut puree and a dollop of Chantilly. Finish with a large and copious swirl of chestnut puree and a tiny meringue!
*I use steamed “Marrons Entiers” that I buy in jars; Clement Faugier. You can find them at Williams-Sonoma. This is not an ad, I just love that product.)