Mont blanc is a classic squiggle-covered pastry, designed to be evocative of a mountain (that is, Mont Blanc). It makes a blockbuster closer to an elegant meal. In fact it’s almost tailor made for these sorts of occasions since nearly all the components need to be made ahead of time, sequentially. Make one every day or so for a few days and you’ll find you can whip together a dozen servings in the time it takes your spouse to clear the table.
Alternately you can do like the Continentals do and skip the “afters” idea and just enjoy one in the middle of the afternoon. It’s what I did and I can’t say I regretted it. Mont blanc is sweet, not terribly rich and full of old school pastry charm. Have a look at the recipe to get your game plan together.
On my first day I made the meringue cookies. I put the French meringue into a piping bag with just the collar, no tip, and extruded these little heaps. I tamped down the points with a wet finger, then baked them in a 250 degree (Fahrenheit) oven for an hour, then lowered the heat to 200 and baked them another hour. I cooled them completely and stored them in an airtight container.
On the next day I made the tartlet crusts. I prepared the dough and let it sit for an hour in the refrigerator to hydrate, then rolled it on a well-floured board to a thickness of about 1/8″. Then, using a cutter from my round cutter set, I cut 3 3/4″ circles.
Which fit into my standard 3″ tartlet molds just perfectly.
‘Course I needed to trim them up a bit. I put them in the fridge to relax for an hour, and meanwhile I preheated my oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. I baked them about 12 minutes until they were lightly golden. I cooled them completely and stored them on a plate on the counter until today. I could have frozen them for a couple of weeks had I wanted to do that, but I was on a schedule.
Today I got out my pre-baked tartlet crust and put it on a plate.
I put the chestnut spread in a pastry bag fitted with a collar but no tip and piped a nice quantity of that delicious stuff into the crust.
I then arranged a meringue cookie on top. Looks good enough to eat, no?
But the best was yet to come. I combined more chestnut spread with my boozy Chantilly cream in about a 1-1 proportion, erring on the side of more cream (you can also use buttercream for firmer vermicelli and a richer overall effect). I used about a cup of each, then gently folded them together. Photo not shown because, quite simply, I flaked.
I loaded that into a pastry bag fitted with a Wilton #234 tip and an extra-large collar, which you need for that thing. There’s upwards of seven dollars worth of gear here.
With slow, steady back-and-forth motions I piped my chestnut cream vermicelli on top. In pastry shops the lines are perfectly straight. Me, I’m not that good a piper, but my diners will survive the experience I think.
And that, as they say, was that. Except I forgot to dust the top with a little powdered sugar “snow”. Ah well, you can’t have everything.
I planted a flag at the summit and called it a success.