Photograph by Martyn Thompson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Chestnut Mont Blanc

Desserts from Issue 4 – Fall / Winter 2014 – Cocoon

The perpetually snow-capped peaks of this dessert’s namesake, the highest mountain in the Alps, are recast on the plate as a mound of sweetened chestnut ribbons—truly, a sight to behold.

makes 6 individual pastries

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 (15 oz can) unsweetened chestnut paste (créme de marrons), divided
  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • tsp almond extract
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

  • 1

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter and flour a standard 6-muffin tin.

  • 2

    Cakes: Beat granulated sugar and 2 Tbsp chestnut paste with an electric mixer until smooth and light. Add 3 Tbsp butter and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg and almond extract. Slowly beat in flour and a pinch of salt until combined. Spoon into tin, about 2 Tbsp in each well.

  • 3

    Bake until set with darker edges, 9 to 11 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.

  • 4

    Chestnut Strands: Beat together remaining chestnut paste (about 1½ cups), confectioners sugar, and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Beat in remaining 2 Tbsp butter until smooth. Transfer all but 2 Tbsp to a piping bag fitted with a multi-opening or spaghetti-style piping tip (we like Wilton/Ateco 134 or 234). Chill until ready to serve.

  • 5

    Melt chocolate in a small bowl set over simmering water or carefully in a microwave until just melted. Stir in reserved 2 Tbsp chestnut mixture. Cool to room temperature. Spoon or pipe about 1 Tbsp chocolate filling onto each cake and pipe over with strands of chestnut.