Written by Ben
This “Mont blanc” cake has chestnut cream on top, and on the inside there is whipped cream and meringue. It is fresh and smooth like powdery snow!
When I saw the 1 kg bags of chestnuts in the street for 2500 won, I thought it would be stupid to do nothing with it.
I immediately thought about the Mont blanc cake I use to buy when I stopped by Ladurée in Paris.
This one isn’t as perfect as the one I ate in France but it was hard to find a well detailed recipe (I just found this one but it is not the one I wanted to make). It was also difficult to find all the chestnut products required by some french recipes (chestnut puree, chestnut cream and chestnut paste combined). So I decided to pick some elements from each recipe and simplify the chestnut part.
If you don’t want to buy the 1kg chestnut spread can at Bangsan market that costs 25,000 won, I suggest you to make it by yourself. It requires a little bit of effort because you have to peel all the chestnuts, and the ones you find here aren’t the type that are easy to peel.
I made a little bit more than 500 g of chestnut cream with one kilo of chestnuts, and used the remaining 1 kg to make a puree that I can eat as it is or a side dish. The chestnuts I bought were super cheap but there were a lot of weevil worms inside so I threw away almost half of them.
Below is my schedule:
Day-2: chestnut cream (It can take several hours if you make a batch of 2 kg like I did)
Day-0: whipped cream and dressing.
For 8 servings:
– 1 kg chestnut (enough to have 500 g of peeled chestnut in my case)
– 200 g powdered sugar
– some water
– vanilla if you like it
Peel the chestnuts:
Nick a cross on chestnut with a sharp knife.
Put chestnuts in the oven for 10-15 mins till you see the skin curling at the crosses. This way it will be easier to peel.
Peel the first skin. This is the occasion to check if that there are no worms inside.
Simmer chestnuts in water for some minutes. It helps to remove the second skin.
Remove the second skin.
Now, the hardest part is done!
It is time to make a puree:
Put chestnuts in a saucepan, cover them with water and cook them for approximately 10 mins at medium heat.
Drain chestnuts without discarding the cooking water. Mix them into a puree and set aside.
Put powdered sugar in a saucepan with 20 cl of water the cooking water.
When the syrup reaches 110° C add your chestnut puree and stir it till the cream get thicker and becomes colored. If you haven’t any thermometer, it has to make thick big bubbles.
Use 50 g of superfine sugar per egg white.
– 3 egg whites
– 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (or salt or lemon juice or baking soda)
– 150 g superfine sugar
– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat your oven at 100°C.
If your sugar isn’t superfine, you can crush it in a food processor if you have it.
Separate egg whites from egg yolks and whisk them in a metal or glass bowl till they are foaming and put the cream of tartar (or its substitute).
Keep whisking till soft peaks.
Add sugar one table spoon at a time and keep whisking. Adding sugar slowly helps the meringue to be well structured.
Put vanilla extract. Put more or less, according to your own taste.
You can stop whisking the meringue when it is glossy and very stiff peaks. If you flip the bowl and the meringue doesn’t move, it might be good.
Also all sugar grains should be dissolved.
To check it, take some meringue between two of your fingers and rub them together. If it is still grainy, keep whisking.
Prepare a pan with parchment paper on top.
Load a pastry bag with meringue fitted with a 8 or 10 mm tip.
Secure the parchment paper with dots of meringue at each corner and make vertically shaped cylinders about 3 cm wide and 4-5 cm tall. You can change the size and shape of your meringues but keep in mind you have to pipe some whipped cream around them.
Bake them for around 1 hour and let cool down in the oven, door closed. The meringue shell should be hard on the outside.
Whisk around 50 cl of 35% fat whipping cream in a glass or metal bowl.
Add some sugar and some vanilla extract.
Whisk it till stiff peaks.
Pipe whipped cream around the meringues and put them in the freezer for 15 minutes or more to harden them. they need to be hard enough to not shrink when you pipe your chestnut cream on it.
While the whipped cream is hardening, beat the chestnut cream with some butter. I added approximately 1 stick of softened butter. It helps it get smooth enough to be piped.
Load the chestnut cream into a piping bag. The tip has to be a vermicelli type, with some holes.
Take out the meringues with whipped cream from the freezer and pipe the chestnut vermicelli on top.
After, it is up to you to decorate them. We put some hazelnuts on top because we had only that in the cupboard.
Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top, if you like.