|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 15g||19%|
|Saturated Fat 9g||43%|
|Total Carbohydrate 103g||37%|
|Dietary Fiber 4g||14%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Appropriately shaped like the beautiful Mont Blanc, this classic French pastry features chestnut purée piled on top of meringue rounds and topped with whipped cream for a subtlety sweet dessert that looks like a little snowy mountain. Its pretty appearance makes this treat a beautiful and elegant addition to dessert tables, bridal showers, or celebratory tea gatherings.
This recipe can be made as one large dessert or individually-sized. Since a raw egg white is incorporated into the whipped cream, make sure you use pasteurized eggs and be sure to let pregnant guests know about it, as raw egg consumption during pregnancy is not advised. Although the recipe requires a lot of attention and has several steps, it is easy to follow and a fun weekend baking project.
This delicious recipe comes courtesy of the "Best of Bon Appetit" (Knapp Press).
- For the Meringues:
- 4 large egg whites (room temperature)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
- For the Chestnut Purée:
- 3 pounds fresh chestnuts (or 1 31-ounce can chestnut purée)
- 1 vanilla bean
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- For the Whipped Cream:
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg white (pasteurized; room temperature)
- Garnish: 2 squares grated semisweet chocolate
- Garnish: Powdered sugar (optional)
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, it is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and cooking.
Make the Meringues
Gather the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With the help of a pencil, trace 1 (9-inch) circle for one large Mont Blanc or 10 (3 1/2-inch) circles for individually-sized desserts on the parchment paper. You might need more than one baking sheet if making small circles.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until foamy.
Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.
Beat in 2 tablespoons sugar until the mixture holds long, stiff peaks when the beater is lifted. Carefully fold in the remaining sugar and vanilla.
Place the meringue in a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tube. Pipe 1 large round or 10 small ones onto the prepared parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake 1 hour or until meringue is firm to the touch. If the meringues begin to brown during baking, reduce the heat. Transfer the meringues to a rack and let cool.
Make the Chestnut Purée
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Peel the chestnuts using a small, sharp knife and leave the inner skin on. Place the chestnuts in a shallow ovenproof dish.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until skin dries and peels off easily. Rub the nuts into a rough clean cloth or hand towel to remove the inner skins.
Place peeled and skinned nuts in a saucepan. Cover with water and add the vanilla bean.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chestnuts are very tender. Remove the vanilla bean.
Meanwhile, boil 3/4 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan to make a thin sugar syrup. Set aside to cool.
Drain the chestnuts well and add to a food mill or food processor. Purée until smooth.
When the syrup is cool, add 1/4 cup of syrup at a time into the chestnut pureé to make it thin enough to pipe it through a pastry bag but still thick enough to hold its shape. If using canned purée, sweeten to taste, making sure it is thin enough to be piped.
Fit a pastry bag with a 1/8-inch plain tube and fill with purée.
Make the Whipped Cream and Assemble
Gather the whipped cream ingredients.
In a medium bowl, beat the cold cream with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until stiff.
In a separate small bowl, beat the pasteurized egg white until it forms a stiff peak.
Fold the egg white into the cream and add the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.
Arrange the meringue or meringues on a serving platter and pipe the chestnut purée into a birds-nest shape around the edge.
Pipe the cream mixture in the center, piling it high so it resembles a mountain. Sprinkle grated chocolate over the whipped cream and chill until serving time.
If using, dust with powdered sugar just before serving so it looks like a snowy mountain.
Raw Egg Warning
Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.
If fresh chestnuts are not available, you can also substitute one, 31-ounce can chestnut purée and skip the step of making your own.