This is a simple recipe for Mont Blanc, the most delicious chestnut dessert.
In this variation, a velvety white chocolate custard and some savoiyardi biscuits are paired with an easy chestnut cream.
Every time chestnuts are in season, and especially when the holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas are near, all I want to do is make as many chestnut recipes as I can.
A lot of times, when I want to use them in a savory recipe, I add them cooked to this honey-balsamic glazed skillet chicken with dried fruits. Another great recipe is my Greek stuffed chicken with rice and chestnuts.
As for dessert, a Mont Blanc in a glass is the first chestnut dessert that I'll make.
Most (if not all) of the times I use already cooked chestnuts and store-bought sweet chestnut puree, so this dessert can actually be made any time of the year.
But it's especially when the holidays are near that my need for chestnuts gets more intense, probably because I think of them as a festive ingredient.
I admit there is something very nostalgic and cozy when you eat freshly boiled or roasted chestnuts, but every time I try to make them at home I end up throwing almost half of them.
So I personally find it best to just buy the cooked ones that come in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag. However, I you want to roast them on your own, shelovesbiscotti.com has 5 easy steps for oven roasted chestnuts that you'll surely find helpful.
What is Mont Blanc?
Mont Blanc is probably the most famous chestnut dessert. It consists of a thin tart base which is topped with a dome of whipped cream and then covered by chestnut puree in the form of thin vermicelli.
Αccording to tasteatlas.com it was named after Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps shared by Italy and France, because the sprinkled icing sugar on top makes it look like a snowy mountain.
Mont Blanc is especially popular in France and Switzerland. It's believed that the recipe was created at the beginning of the 20th century by Angelina pastry Chefs (Angelina is a famous French patisserie). Others claim that it's originated in Italy. You can read more in this article by wikipedia.com.
The last years it has also gained a lot of popularity in Japan. So, except the French and the Swiss recipes, you can also find a lot of Japanese variations many of them using matcha, strawberry and a sweet bean puree.
The classic recipe of this chestnut dessert includes a tart crust as the base which is topped with whipped cream and then covered by sweet chestnut puree. Sometimes, instead of the tart crust a meringue base is used.
In my variation made in a glass, I use store-bought savoiyardi biscuits (a.k.a. lady fingers), a white chocolate custard and a chestnut cream made with chestnuts and sweet chestnut spread.
The white chocolate complements the chestnut flavor perfectly and creates a magnificent dessert.
What does this Mont Blanc taste like?
This Mont Blanc has a sweet and warm nutty flavor from the chestnut cream which is complemented by the flowery taste of the white chocolate custard cream.
The flavor of the cocoa butter from the white chocolate accentuated by some vanilla pairs perfectly with the chestnuts and makes this dessert one of a kind.
How to make the chestnut cream
I've experimented a lot with the chestnut cream because I wanted it to be delicious, with a real, deep chestnut flavor and at the same time easy too. So, the recipe I ended up with is made with both cooked/roasted chestnuts and sweet chestnut spread.
Because the spread itself is far too sweet for this recipe and the roasted chestnuts when made into a puree (without adding the chestnut spread), they lack intensity.
Ultimately, the easiest and tastiest solution was to process equal parts of roasted chestnuts and sweet chestnut spread and fix the texture by adding as much water needed to make this cream smooth and spreadable.
I believe you can also use milk instead of water but I didn't try that.
Instead of cooked chestnuts you can also use the same quantity (by weight) of unsweetened chestnut puree, but because the puree is not 100% chestnuts (it also contains a bit of water) you may not need all the 4 tablespoons of water that this recipe calls for.
So add the water gradually until you get the desired consistency.
The calories will depend on the size of the glass.
The glasses you see in the photos were enough for 5 servings but those servings came out to be pretty big. I suggest serving this dessert in glasses or bowls with ⅔ of a cup (180 ml) or half a cup (125 ml) capacity.
These glasses will give you:
6 servings (about 7oz / 200grams) with 434 calories per serving or
8 servings (about 5.3oz / 150grams) with 326 calories per serving.
This is Mont Blanc in a glass is perfect for winter and ideal as a Christmas or New Years Eve dessert. If you're also including cocktails in your celebrations, this simple Negroni cocktail recipe will become your favorite.
Simple Mont Blanc (chestnut dessert)
For the white chocolate cream:
- 6 tablespoons (40 grams) corn starch
- 2 tablespoons (20 grams) white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups (500 grams) milk
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3.5 oz (100 grams) white chocolate, chopped
For the chestnut cream:
- 1 cup packed (7 oz / 200 grams) boiled chestnuts
- ⅔ cups (7 oz /200 grams) sweet chestnut spread
- 3-4 tablespoons water
For the biscuits:
- 18 savoiardi biscuits
- ½ cup milk
For the rest
- Icing sugar and white chocolate curles for decoration
- 6 or 8 serving glasses/bowls
- Make the white chocolate custard: Transfer the corn starch and the sugar to a small pot and stir to mix. Add the eggs and whisk until everything is combined. Add the milk and the salt and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to bubble. Let it bubble for 1 minute and take it off the heat..Add the white chocolate and the vanilla and wait for 1 minute for the chocolate to start melting. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the cream is smooth. If you notice you have any lumps, you can pass the cream through a sieve, or blend it to make it smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a wrap in a way that the wrap touches the surface and refrigerate.
- Make the chestnut cream: Transfer the chestnuts and the sweet chestnut spread to a food processor and process until smooth. You may have to stop and scrape the side a few times. Add the water gradually until you get a smooth, spreadable cream.
- Built the Mont Blanc: Pour the milk in a shallow bowl and briefly dip half of the savoiardi biscuits. Divide the savoiardi between the glasses and spread a teaspoon of chestnut cream to each glass. Then, divide half of the custard between the glasses..Repeat with another layer of savoiardi dipped in milk and cover with the rest of the custard. Using a spoon or an offset spatula give the custard a pyramid shape..Transfer the chestnut cream to a piping bag with a star tip or a thin round tip at the end and pipe the chestnut cream over the custard.
- Store in the fridge for a few hours to chill. Sprinkle with icing sugar and (optionally) decorate with white chocolate curls before serving.
- The dessert must have a peak to resemble a mountain. You can put a small piece of biscuit on top for the peak to be more stable.
- If you don't want to add the white chocolate to the custard, triple the amount of sugar and add 3 tablespoons butter at the end of cooking.
- For an even easier dessert you can use whipped cream instead of the custard cream. But in my opinion, the result is just not the same.
- You can use unsweetened chestnut puree instead of cooked chestnuts but you may need to decrease the water in the recipe.
For 6 servings (about 7oz / 200grams) there are 434 calories per serving.
For 8 servings (about 5.3oz / 150grams) there are 326 calories per serving.
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