When a dessert is named after a mountain, you can bet that the goodie will be piled high with something delicious. That’s the case with the Mont Blanc, an old-school French dessert. (“Mont Blanc” means “white mountain.”)
Mont Blanc indeed got its name because it looks like a towering mountain with peaks of snow. The mountain, in this case, is chestnut cream, a sweetened puree of chestnuts that has a taste somewhere between Nutella and jam. That might sound weird, but the flavor is truly addictive. The snowcaps on the mountain are whipped cream, and the two are a wonderful pairing.
In our version, we turn egg whites into little nests of meringues. The process isn’t unlike our savory dish, Eggs on Clouds. To get the light-as-air texture, though, these are cooked at a very low temperature for a long time, essentially drying them out until they’re crisp. When you take a bite, they’ll melt into your mouth.
In many versions of Mont Blanc, you’ll see that the chestnut purée is piped high onto the meringue. We didn’t want to call for offbeat equipment, so we simple simply dollop and smooth the “mountain” part of the dessert on with a knife.
And, since you need a decent serving of whipped cream to balance the flavors, we were okay with the fact that our snowcaps were pretty much hiding the rest of the mountain!
A few chocolate shavings or some cocoa powder is the perfect garnish.
Read on to get our five-ingredient recipe for Mont Blancs…
4 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 can chestnut cream
Chocolate curls or cocoa powder(optional)
Preheat the oven to 225°F. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites and beat on low speed until the whites are foamy. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of sugar, increase the speed to medium and continue whipping to soft peaks. Slowly add almost all the remaining sugar (reserving about 2 tablespoons for the whipped cream) until the egg whites form stiff peaks when the whisk is removed from the batter. Add the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt and beat to combine.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the bowl from a stand mixer in the fridge. Using the backside of a spoon, spread about 1/2 cup of the meringue into a 3-inch circle which should yield about 6 nests. Make a divot in the middle to create a nest.
Bake for 60 to 80 minutes or until the meringues release easily from the paper and cooked through. Remove the meringues from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Carefully remove the meringues from paper. Set aside until ready to fill.
Remove the large metal bowl from the fridge and add the heavy cream and remaining 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Whip the mixture on low speed until small bubbles form. Slowly increase the speed to high and whip the mixture until it is smooth, thick and nearly doubled in volume.
To assemble the Mont Blanc, place a meringue nest on a plate, top with a spoonful of chestnut paste and a dollop of whipped cream. Top with chocolate curls or cocoa powder if desired.