Sweet Chestnut Mont Blancs
Named after the famous mountain, Mont Blanc is a classic Swiss-French dessert of sweetened chestnut purée, traditionally piped in fine threads into a mound on top of a meringue base, topped with whipped cream and chocolate. Our simplified mini-Mont Blancs use shop-bought meringues for convenience, but if you prefer to make your own, just follow the instructions in our recipe for Wild Strawberry and Elderflower Meringues.
- 6 large ready-made meringue nests
- 185ml double cream
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons rum (optional)
- 2 squares of dark chocolate
FOR THE CHESTNUT PURÉE
- 400g sweet chestnuts
- 100g caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- First prepare the chestnut purée. Using a strong, sharp knife, cut a slash in the skins of the sweet chestnuts right around their middles. Put them into a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer until the skins start to split open.
- Turn the heat under the pan to low, to keep the nuts hot as you work. With a slotted spoon, lift out one chestnut at a time and, using a tea towel or rubber gloves to protect your hands from the heat, quickly peel off the skin. With any luck, the inner, fibrous husk will come away with the outer shell, but if any of it remains on the chestnut you should be able to scrape it off with the back of a knife. If not, return the chestnut to the pan for a few minutes and try again. When all the chestnuts are peeled, return them to the rinsed-out pan and cover with fresh water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until tender to the point of a knife.
- Drain the chestnuts, and put them back into the rinsed-out pan. Add the sugar and 250ml cold water and to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently for 25–35 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Strain the chestnuts, reserving the liquid. Put the chestnuts into the bowl of a food processor and add the vanilla. Process until the nuts are finely ground. With the processor running, gradually add as much of the reserved cooking liquid as is necessary to achieve a smooth, whipped texture. Leave to cool completely.
- When you’re ready to serve, put the cream into a bowl with the icing sugar and rum (if using) and whip to soft, floppy peaks. Top each merignue nest with a generous amount of chestnut purée, dollop some whipped cream on top, grate over a little chocolate, and serve.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK