Mont Blanc: A Revised Ascent Plan

I had a chance encounter with a Swiss pastry chef over the weekend. Being both highly educated and from a mountainous European country, he of course knew quite a lot about mont blanc. He described what he considered to be the “new conventional” approach to the pastry: a tartlet crust filled with frangipane, chocolate mousse or whipped ganache; a meringue center, and; a “chestnut cream” vermicelli on top made from chestnut paste folded together with buttercream.

I’m not sure I’m convinced of the approach, since this version now has too little chestnut paste for my taste. I’d also like to incorporate whipped cream since that’s foundational to the, shall we say, “classic” version of the dessert. So at this moment I’m thinking I’ll go with the tartlet crust which I’ll fill with sweetened chestnut paste. I’ll use the meringue center idea (basically a meringue cookie placed on top of that) and top it with a chestnut cream made from chestnut paste folded together with stabilized whipped cream. I’m not sure if that last bit will work, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t.

This way I’ll have the chestnut flavor, a foundation that won’t collapse and all the essential flavors and textures in one package. In theory. Comments? Changes?

6 thoughts on “Mont Blanc: A Revised Ascent Plan”

  1. I have a 1960s era Italian cookbook with a photo of their version of Mont Blanc: the chestnut puree (homemade, of course) is UNDER the whipped cream. Given the idea of a snow-capped mountain, I think that makes more sense.

    1. Hey Sally!

      That’s definitely the Italian style, no question, sometimes with chocolate shavings on the top. Call me crazy, I prefer those goofy vermicelli on the top. So many desserts have whipped cream on the top, this one is a little bit odd…and I like it!

      – Joe

  2. i hope this means you’re starting to go into some more of the more sophisticated and contemporary treatments of french pastry. i think there’s a real gap there in the american food blogosphere. and with your professional training and background you’d be the perfect guide for serious american home bakers who want to improve their skills.

    1. Hey Candide!

      I’m always up for something new, though I think there’s virtue in learning the classics. French, Austrian, German, Chinese what have you. My feeling on pastry blogs in English is that there are already plenty that talk about advanced techniques, perhaps not in detail, but the photography is certainly excellent! 😉

      My interest in pastry blogging is mainly to encourage home bakers to try some of the classics if they haven’t before, and learn a little science and history along the way. It may lead to enthusiasm for more advanced sorts of things that are probably best learned elsewhere. I don’t have the finishing skills to do much that’s refined, but I thank you for thinking I might!


      – Joe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *