Oh Hi! I know it’s been more than a week since my last post but I haven’t had the urge to blog anything lately, though there are new cakes and photos every weekend. Furthermore, my iPhoto suffered from injury and I wasn’t able to open or load it at all. So I can’t copy my pictures, or pull anything to PS to edit it. But it’s back now after some rebuilding. The weekend I made Mont’ Blanc, was also the weekend I made 6-7 more stuffs. I should really put all of them up before it goes to the back of my brain.
I had high hopes for this little thing called Mont Blanc. It’s just one of those things where its been lingering in the to-do / to-bake list for the longest time ever and I just never, NEVER did it. Until recently when I know where I could get the chestnut puree. And right after I bought the Hero Chestnut Puree, I saw Ponthier’s frozen whole chestnuts in the supermarket. Yes when I needed to find it, it doesn’t appear but when I don’t need it at all, it appears, 2 at the same time. Lol. Life is.
And when it’s something you’ve been wanting to make, something you’ve held hopes high for, you’d expect it to be good, by all means lip-smackingly GOOD. Much to my dismay, I didn’t really liked it; I don’t hate eating it but its not my favourite either. I am now in a love-hate relationship with the Mont Blanc. And please also tell me what should I do with the remaining chestnut puree for all I know, I won’t be making Mont Blanc anytime soon. No actually it’s not the cake, but it’s chestnut itself. Hrmmm…
But what is Mont Blanc exactly? Ideally it’s a French dessert (which I suspect then turned Japanese) that consists of a base (which could be meringue/ breton / cake) then filled with cream and topped with chestnut puree so it looks like a snow mountain. If you do a search of Mont Blanc (the cake, not the pen) in google, you get lots of varied versions of this dessert. And no, I didn’t learn about this cake in Le Cordon Bleu at all. It’s French right? But it wasn’t included in the syllabus. But looking at the recipe it’s actually a composed dessert of a few basic techniques. For instance, for my version, I made Sable Breton which is somewhat like making a cookie dough. Then for the innards, it requires you to make creme patisserie, where any patissier would know the method of making it by the back of his or her hand. Then whipped cream. As for the chestnut strands, you can lighten up pureed chestnut with whipped cream (like how NoRecipes did it), or beat it with butter (like Caneelle et Vanille’s version), or like BraveTart’s version, mix it with creme patisserie.
If it’s not confusing you yet, I’m happy for you. As I am getting a little confused already. Lol. But whatever it is, make what that makes you happy So there’s a Sable Breton, Chocolate creme patisserie, whole chestnut, whipped cream and lastly chestnut cream on top.
Mont-Blanc aux Marrons
(makes 15 x 2 inches diameter)
(recipes adapted from here and here)
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 tsp salt
Chocolate Creme Patisserie
1/2 portion of creme patisserie
120g dark chocolate, melted
80 grams sugar
80 grams salted butter
2 egg yolks
zest of half an orange
1/4 vanilla bean
120 grams unbleached all purpose flour
7 grams baking powder
250g Chestnut puree (I used Hero)
1/2 portion of creme patisserie
1 tbsp dark rum
1. Make cream patisserie. Scrap seeds of vanilla pod into 3/4 of milk. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and let it infuse for 30 minutes. You can do this overnight if you want to. Turn on heat and add in half the amount of the sugar into the milk and let it come to a simmer.
In another bowl, mix the remaining 1/4 of milk, eggs and yolk, remaining half of the sugar and corn starch. Whisk tilll everything is combined. Once the milk is simmering, pour a quarter of milk into the egg mixture whilst stirring constantly. Then gradually pour in the rest of milk and don’t forget to stir.
Pour the entire thing back into the pot, cook over very low heat while stirring with a whisk. Continue till mixture is thickened and when you see blooping bubbles, you’ll just need a minute more. Make sure you stir all the time to prevent egg curdling or burning.
When it’s ready, pour over a sieve into a clean bowl. Cover with a cling film, making sure it touches the entire surface of the creme patisserie to prevent skinning. Refrigerate and let it cool.
2. Make Sable Breton. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar together. Add the egg yolks, vanilla bean and the orange zest. Add the flour and baking powder combined until it comes together. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Roll out to about 1/2″ thickness and cut 3″ circles with a round cutter. Place the circles in molds and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. If sable spreads, use the 3″ round cutter and cut again so you have neat edges.
3. Make chocolate cream patisserie. Remove chilled creme patisserie and beat with a mixer to loosen / smoothen it. Add in melted chocolate and mix well. Fill in a piping bag until ready to use.
4. Whip about 175ml cream till stiff peaks. Fill in a piping bag until ready to use.
5. Make Chestnut Cream. In a mixer, beat chestnut cream (or use a blender if texture is still lumpy). Then add in creme patisserie and rum. Mix till smooth and silky. Fill in a piping bag with a round tip no.3 or with multi openings.
6. Ready, set, go! To assemble, squeeze a 5 cent dollop of chocolate creme patisserie on the base of the Sable Breton, then place and stick it on the board. Pipe about a tbsp or 2 of chocolate creme patisserie. Place a whole (roasted and peeled) chestnut on top. Pipe almost the same amount of whipped cream on top. At this stage you want to make it look like a cone so when you pipe the chestnut cream, it’s neater. Then lastly, pipe the chestnut cream in a circular motion till you get a dome / capped shaped Mont Blanc. Not to forget, place a chestnut ontop and sprinkle with snow powder (icing sugar doesn’t work here, it melts the moment it touches creme patisserie).
For me, I thought the chestnut was a little pepperish and I didn’t quite fancy the taste of it. But the breton was fantastic, smells great!