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!
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.
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!)