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Author Notes: It was on a trip through Europe a few years ago that I first encountered this yummy chestnut dessert, that's supposed to gets it's name from the highest peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc. This is one great dessert combining a chestnut cream purée with a meringue component and is one dessert that I try to make at least once before the Holidays and chestnut season are over. I got the basic recipe from our friend that first served it, but I've tweaked it since then by varying the flavors here and there. For the meringue, I added espresso and to the chestnut purée I added Créme de Cacao. Important to note, the meringue can be made ahead of time, freeing up the oven for other good stuff. - TiggyBee
- For the espresso meringue:
- 1 cup egg whites at room temp.
- 1 cup super fine sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- For the chestnut purée:
- 1 pound jar of chestnuts (unless you're inclined to roast & peel yourself)
- a few tablespoons of Créme de Cacao, or alternative to taste
- 1 ounce melted semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- sugar to taste (optional)
- For the topping:
- whipped cream
- roasted and chopped pistachio nuts
- shavings of your best semi-sweet chocolate
- fleur de sel (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine egg whites, salt and vanilla extract. Mix in the sugar two tablespoons at a time and the espresso and beat until meringue is in stiff peaks and has a glossy sheen.
- Spoon (a pastry bag can also be used) the meringue in dollops onto the cookie sheet. A pretty shape isn't necessary, because it gets crumbled into the serving glass later.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour, turning the baking sheet 1/2 way through. Remove from oven and let cool. The meringue will harden further as it cools.
- Whip up 1/2 cup of cream into a stiff peak and set aside.
- Place the chestnuts in a food processor and pulse them until they're a mealy consistency. Add the melted chocolate and liquor and optional sugar and pulse a few more times, until you have a smooth purée.
- Fold the 1/2 cup of whipped cream into the chestnut puree and combine well.
- In a serving glass (I used a stemless martini) crumble some of the cooled meringue into the bottom of the glass. On top of the meringue, spoon (or if using a pastry bag squeeze) out the purée in a reverse graduating fashion (large to small), add some more crumbled meringue and finish the top off with whipped cream, pistachios, shaved chocolate. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt on top.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Non-Pie Thanksgiving Dessert
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