Monday, July 20, 2009

Climbing the top of... Mini Mont Blancs!

I have a tendency to buy products that I've never cooked with before (and may never get around to before the best before date comes around!) I feel really bad too because there's all this wonderful food and potential if only I'd get my act together-Woops!

Luckily, the chestnut puree was saved from a similar fate. I remember coming across a recipe for Mont blanc (not the Swiss mountain) some time ago and sought to make it but was a little hesitant because it looked more complicated than it turned out to be! Hooray! Apparently, Mont blanc has many disguises as cakes, 'Monburan' a very popular Japanese version. There's the very impressive Vacherin, as well as tarts and cupcakes. What these all have in common how is the rich, earthy chestnut flavour combined with cream to make a velvety, delicate filling that lifts any recipe from good to something special.

I decided to make the meringue version and modify it slightly to make mini mountains (like hills?) to share around (and eat several without feeling like a glutton!) With chesnuts in season you can roast your own and puree or chop roughly to sprinkly over meringues. The result is a deliciously sweet mix of textures - that marry rather nicely with a coffee!

Mini Mont Blancs(apologies for the poor photo quality, not quite a food porn photoshoot!)

2 egg whites
100g white sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1. Ensure your bowl is clean and dry before adding egg whites.
2. Beat egg whites until stiff.
3. Gradually add sugar and beat until grainyness disappears
4. Scoop into balls using a spoon or pipe into swirls if you feel like it.
5. Cook in a low oven (preheated at 150 degrees) for up to 20min.
6. If meringues start to colour cover in foil and leave for another 10min.
7. Allow to cool and dry in oven.

Chestnut cream
1 cup chestnut puree (Note: If making from scratch- cream 350g fresh chestnuts with 1/2 cup water, 1 tbs oil and 1/3 cup caster sugar - super sweet sludge!)
1 cup cream
coffee powder OR crushed roast chestnut pieces OR frozen cranberries (nice tart burst compared to creaminess) to sprinkle over meringues

1. Add equal parts chestnut puree and cream and beat until thick and light.
2. Once meringues have cooled, cover with cream by dipping into bowl and carefully twisting clockwise to cover top OR with a piping bag, swirl chestnut mixture on the top of each meringue.
3. Set aside and cover remaining meringues
4. Decorate by dusting over with coffee powder and decorate with cranberry OR roasted chestnut chunks OR if you still feel decadent, add a swirl of whipped cream on top or chestnut cream before sprinkling with coffee and chestnut pieces.

If you want a more authentic version watch the SBS video during the Tour De France coverage. (Warning: There's gratuitous use of the French accent!)


  1. Ooo, I see you've changed the blog design!

    (The meringues look delicious.)

  2. Hmm.. i've seen chestnut puree in asian shops and was hesitant to try it..

    Excellent recipe M! .. Sounds like i might be able to make it too!

    (As opposed to my gnocchi attempt.. disaster! potato sludge!)

  3. mmm yum m's! good to see a use for the chestnut puree (other than eating it out of the jar!)

  4. @ Kaz> Thanks, yeah it was looking a tad stale but still needs a bit of an overhaul.

    @ Jaye> Definitely try it out, it has a nice nutty earthy taste and you can use it for anything although fresh chestnuts are probably better if you want to make something savoury. What happened with the gnocchi? Maybe we can try again next time I'm up in Sydney? I heard the secret's in the 'tatoes!

    @jfox> Yay finally got around to using it after our last cooking expedition! I have this wacky idea that it would go great as a base to a pizza with green grapes and rocket... Might have to try it and see what the verdict is!

    Thanks for the kind words folks!


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