Mont Blanc (or Mont-Blanc aux marrons) is at the very top of my list when it comes to desserts. It’s a divine creation; period. If a mont blanc made from scratch didn’t taste so darn good, I wouldn’t have gone through the process of making it a second time. The mont blanc is worth every single minute of your time.
A mountain of velvety smooth, sweetened chestnut cream with fluffy, soft whipped cream hidden inside, all on top of a buttery, crumbly pastry crust – how can your heart not melt just by the sight of one?
I had a bit of a hard time finding a mont blanc recipe online since the majority of them listed canned chestnut purée or chestnut paste as an ingredient. I usually opt for fresh ingredients if I can get my hands on them, and of course if they’re not killer expensive. I’m not against using store-bought purées since they’re more convenient (sometimes I use canned lychee) but if I had a choice, why not go with the actual ingredients themselves? The difference in taste is pretty astounding. I was basically licking the chestnut cream off of my spatula, bowls, and even the food processor blade (I know this is very dangerous so attempt at your own discretion). Believe me when I say that I don’t do this often, so it’s really that good.
This is a long process and may take you the entire Sunday afternoon. But for someone who loves baking as much as I do, this is the best kind of afternoon. You have to roast the chestnuts first to let out its flavour and then boil them until they’re soft. After you squeeze the flesh out of each and every one of these darn chestnuts. Add some cream, sugar, egg yolk, and a vanilla bean, and you’re 1/3 of the way there. Next is the whipped cream which can be easily made with heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. For the base of the mont blanc, you can make a sponge cake or pastry crust; I chose Pierre Hermé’s wonderful pâte sablée and I don’t think it can get any more perfect than this. Oh right, you also need a specific tip to pipe out the chestnut cream (I used Wilton’s 234).
I’ve compiled several recipes together to create this one dessert. I didn’t make any changes besides cutting down the sweet pastry to half the amount since I don’t need two 10.5″ tarts.
Makes eight 3.5″ tarts
I forgot to take note of the amount of chestnuts I used in grams, but if it helps, I used 20 chestnuts to make 2 cups of purée. Now, if you check the online sources for making chestnut purée, it’ll tell you to boil water, milk, and sugar along with the roasted chestnuts in a sauce pan. Since we don’t want sweetened chestnut purée, don’t follow those steps. Simply place your chestnuts on a baking sheet and bake them in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes. Afterwards, place them in a sauce pan with water and boil them until they’re soft. I boiled them for 15 minutes, removed them from the heat, put a lid on the pan, and let it stand for another 10 minutes. I find it much easier removing the flesh from the shells by boiling the chestnuts in their shells first. I’ve tried removing them after roasting and my fingers were in pain for a few days. Don’t do that.
Chestnut Cream + Whipped Cream
Recipe available at No Recipes
Sweet Pastry Crust (Pâte Sablée)
Recipe available at La Tartine Gourmande