This is my version of mont blanc. It incorporates all the elements of the original: chestnut spread, meringue and whipped cream which, while perhaps not a symphony of texture and flavor, are at least a heck of a good concerto. The difference is that this interpretation delivers all the components in a format that’s easier to prepare, build, store and serve. Notice that the ingredient list calls for pre-made chestnut spread, which is easier to get than chestnut paste, and may well be available at your closest boutique food store. I found some here in Louisville at a local specialty shop after ordering it twice online. Serves me right! You’ll need:
Prepare the meringue according to instructions, place it in a pastry bag fitted with a collar and no tip, and pipe 1″-2′ blobs on a parchment lined sheet. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 1 hour, propping the door open slightly with a wooden spoon, then reduce the heat to 200 and bake an additional hour or until they’re completely dry all the way through. Cool and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
Prepare the tart dough according to instructions. Rset it for at least an hour before using, then roll it out on a well-floured board to a thickness of 1/8″ inch. Cut circles to fit in tartlet molds. Mine are 3″ across, so 3 3/4″ circles were a near perfect fit. Trim the edges, then let the tart crusts rest in the fridge for at least an hour. Meanewhile preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. When ready, bake the crusts to a light golden brown (12-15 minutes) and cool them completely. Store at room temperature in an airtight container until ready to use. They can be frozen for several weeks.
When you’re ready to assemble, put one can of chestnut spread into a piping bag fitted with a collar and no tip, and fill the tart shells with it. Put a meringue cookie on top of each one.
Combine half the remaining can of chestnut spread with an equal amount of Chantilly cream (or buttercream) and gently fold them together. Put the chestnut cream into a large pastry bag fitted with a large collar and a Wilton #234 tip. Gently pipe chestnut cream “vermicelli” all over the meringue. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
This recipe makes 12-15 depending on the size of the tarts.