Usually when you see Mont Blanc, it is served in individual portions. This is fine, obviously, but I fancied making it into a ‘pavlova’, not least because this is the first time I’ve successfully made meringue, and I felt like this was a better way to show it off 🙂
I was amazed at how simple meringue actually is to make! I can be very impatient you see, and when I have tried before, I have added all the ingredients to the bowl at once, only to then read through the method and discover that you are supposed to add the sugar GRADUALLY and once the egg whites already form soft peaks.
Making this has enabled me to cross quite a few things off my to-do list, such as trying marrons glacés! I found a small box at John Lewis and jumped at the chance to buy some and not pay a ridiculous amount. They are expensive and tend to come in larger quantities than this. They are extremely special though, so worth it in my book.
There are a couple of things I’d change slightly next time, namely how to layer the dessert, and I will write the following recipe with these changes in mind, but they will not change the taste in the slightest, and the taste is one of my all time favourites. The alterations are for aesthetic purposes only, as my version ended up flatter than I’d have liked. It looks more like a pie, as you will see below!
- 2 egg whites
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
For the Topping
- 100g dark chocolate
- 300ml carton double cream
- 250g sweetened chestnut purée (with vanilla if possible, if not, add 1 tsp vanilla extract to the purée)
- 6 marrons glacés
- First make the meringue. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 160°c. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Add the sugar little by little, whisking after each addition, until it has all been added and stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. Whisk in the cornflour and vinegar. You should see that this final addition stiffens the mixture that little bit more.
- Spoon the mixture onto the baking tray in a squat circle – don’t spread it too thinly or the meringue will be more difficult to prise off the tray later, and it won’t look as toweringly impressive. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 140°c and continue baking for 40 minutes more. Turn off the heat and leave the meringue in the oven to cool completely (1-2 hours, but can be left overnight). It should be crisp but uncoloured.
- For the filling, mix the chestnut purée in a bowl with most of the double cream (leave about 2 tbsp in the carton to use later). When it is combined, whisk until thickened to your liking – the stiffer the mix, the better it will sit on your meringue.
- Break up the chocolate in another bowl and add the remaining double cream. Heat in the microwave at 30 second intervals, giving it a stir each time. Alternatively, heat over a bain marie (melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water without letting the base of the bowl touch the water), but I find this set up oh so laborious 😉 leave to cool completely.
- When it is time to assemble the pud, sit the meringue on a serving platter. Spread the melted chocolate over the top, then dollop on the chestnut mixture. Crumble two of the marrons glacés over and you’re ready. The remaining marrons glacés are for serving on the side. I think it’s a nice gesture 🙂
I didn’t whip the chestnut-cream mixture for long enough, so it remained a little fluid when I added it to the meringue. As I didn’t want to let it drip all over the serving plate, I saved some of it for another time. I am positive that it would be delicious served alongside a warm mince pie.
To see the meal that preceded this dessert: https://welcomebackbelly.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/spicy-maple-glazed-pork-fillet-with-roasted-vegetables/