|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
This French recipe, known as Mont Blanc ("white mountain"), features chestnut purée piled on top of meringue rounds that are topped with whipped cream for a classic dessert.
Since a raw egg white is incorporated into the whipped cream, make sure you use pasteurized eggs.
- For the Meringue:
- 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 (if using fresh chestnuts)
- 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 pasteurized egg white (room temperature)
- Garnish: 2 squares grated semisweet chocolate
Make the Meringues
Heat oven to 250 F. Grease a baking sheet, sprinkle with flour and mark 1 (9-inch) circle or 10 (3 1/2-inch) circles (this may require more than one baking sheet).
In a large bowl, beat 4 egg whites with salt until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.
Beat in 2 tablespoons sugar until mixture holds long, stiff peaks when beater is lifted. Fold in remaining sugar and vanilla.
Place in pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch plain tube and pipe 1 large round or 10 small ones onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake 1 hour or until meringue is firm to the touch. If meringues brown during baking, reduce heat. Transfer meringues to rack and let cool.
Make the Chestnut Purée
Heat oven to 375 F. Peel chestnuts using a small, sharp knife and leaving the inner skin on.
Place chestnuts in a shallow ovenproof dish and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until skin dries and peels off easily. Rub nuts in rough cloth to remove skins.
Place peeled and skinned nuts in a saucepan with vanilla bean and water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 25 to 30 minutes, or until very tender. Remove vanilla bean (it can be rinsed and reused).
Drain chestnuts then put through a food mill or food processor, and purée until smooth.
In a small saucepan, briefly boil together 3/4 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar to make a thin sugar syrup. Set aside to cool.
When cool, beat enough of this syrup into the chestnut purée to make it thin enough to pipe 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
In a medium bowl, beat cream until stiff, with 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar or to taste and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Assemble the Mont Blancs
Arrange meringues on a serving platter and pipe chestnut purée into a birds-nest shape around the edge of each meringue.
Pipe cream mixture in the center, piling it high. Sprinkle grated chocolate over whipped cream and chill until serving time.
Source: "Best of Bon Appetit" (Knapp Press)