Friday, October 4, 2013

Gateau Mont Blanc

Not exactly sure why I was onto chestnuts last little while, but mostly it was because I had a can of whole chestnuts in the basements sitting for a while now.  And I think also because there was another tempting dessert out of the Laduree Sucre book again.

Although in the Laduree book, it featured the Mont Blanc as a verrines.  Though I swear I've seen Mont Blanc as a cake before, and also, chestnut cakes are quite popular with the Asians.  Perhaps it is because it's not too sweet.  Apparently, after a bit of research, it is all the rage in Japan.  What isn't "all the rage" in Japan anyway??

However, trying to find one recipe that does a whole Mont Blanc cake the way I had imagined it was difficult.  And like all internet recipes, I had to take it with a grain of salt.  Laduree book calls for chestnut paste and chestnut cream.  I had no idea what either of those consist of other than chestnuts, so I had to look into it.  Finally, I was able to piece my cake together using a few recipes.

Gateau Mont Blanc


Adapted from Laduree Sucre

2 egg whites
30 g extra fine sugar
lemon juice

1. This is a "make-ahead".  Whip egg whites until frothy, add a splash of lemon juice.

2. Continue to whip until medium peaks, slowly stream in sugar.

3. Whip until stiff peaks

4. Pipe dollops onto an ungreased parchment sheet

5. Bake at 175F (or lower if possible) for 3 hours

6. Store in loosely covered container

Chestnut Paste
Adapted from Eddy van Damme

850 g Canned whole chestnuts, preferably French
357 g Extra fine granulated sugar
190 g Water 
8 g Vanilla extract

1. These chestnuts are pre-cooked coming out of the can.  Simply puree it.  I used an immersion blender because my food processor is too small and the chestnuts are quite dry so it did not spin well.  You can also try beating it in a stand mixer first and transferring it to a food processor later.  

2. Next, cook the fine sugar with the water until it reaches 240F (soft ball stage)

3. Slowly, add about 1/3 of the chestnut puree into the syrup, stir until dissolved, then add the rest.  Stir until smooth on medium heat until it pulls from the sides or you can see the bottom when scraping.

4. Add vanilla and stir to combine.

Final weight

5. Refrigerate or freeze in sealed container to store.

Chestnut Cream
Adapted from Cannelle et Vanille

439 grams unsweetened chestnut puree, canned, preferrably French
439 grams chestnut paste
454 grams unsalted butter, softened
4 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbs dark rum

1. Cream together the chestnut puree and chestnut paste

Pretty dry, chunky stuff

2. Add rum

3. Add softened butter

Stabilized Whipped Cream
From Baking by James Peterson

500 mL of heavy cream
45 g of sugar
2 tablespoons of gelatin
2 tablespoons of cold water

1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water, let bloom, about 5 minutes

2. Break up bloomed gelatin with a fork

3. Take about 100 mL of the heavy cream into a small sauce pan, gently heat it

Close enough

4. Add gelatin into the heavy cream and heat it just enough for the gelatin to melt.  Do not heat it any warmer than necessary.  Allow to cool slightly.

5. Beat whipping cream to stiff peaks, slowly stream in sugar. It will not stiffen up any more after the addition of gelatin.

6. Slowly, stream in the gelatinized, warm whipping cream and continue to whisk.

Whipped cream will break and separate if beaten too much when gelatin is present

Marrons Creme
Adapted from DailyDelicious

165 g of chestnut cream
15 g of stabilized whipped cream

1. Fold the two together until blended

Victoria Sponge Cake
From here


1. Slice your cake into 3 layers

2. Spread a layer of marrons cream on the bottom layer

3. Arrange meringues on top of the marrons creme

4. Put another layer of cake on and spread whipped cream

5. Refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes to allow the whipped cream to set

6. Take cake out of fridge and spread chestnut cream on top


Not turd anymore :D

7. Put on top layer of cake

8. Cover the exterior of the cake with whipped cream, refrigerate for 30 minutes to set

9. Fit a piping bag with a vermicelli tip and fill it with chestnut cream

10. Decorate cake with chestnut cream as you like

Yield: 8" cake

Okay, this looked like a lot more work than it is.  I am just thankful for canned quality chestnuts because otherwise I'd be shucking, boiling, roasting, and peeling chestnuts before I get to puree it.

I did succumb to making a verrine but only because there was somebody who was Celiac

The downside of this was the meringues died in the cake, they went flat and soggy.  I was hoping it'd provide some crunch texture.  The only way it didn't die was in the 4" cake where I had a thick coil of meringue inside.

Best pipe job ever!

There was a nice balance of flavour and it seems that the chestnut cream contains a lot of moisture so it kept the cake moist.  The final verdict from everyone was "it is not ungodly sweet, I like".  I suppose that Mont Blanc is normally very sweet, as Mr. Meow has forewarned me previously.  I mainly pared down on the sugar in the whipped cream as I see whipped cream only there to provide texture and does not have to contribute to the flavour any more than what there is already.

The only downside to this was I had a lot of chestnut cream leftover.  The cream piped well while cool but melts easily in my hands when I had it in a piping bag, so the noodle job that I attempted to create as most Mont Blancs have did not turn out as I had liked.  It did not stick to anything, so it had a hard time staying on the cake.  And it also did not freeze well.  It was grainy after thawing, I couldn't beat it back to being smooth.  Though strangely enough, it did not affect the texture in anyway, it was just ass to work with.

Noodles did not stick to the sides of the cake and started collapsing,
it looked like a cross between brains and turd, so I smoothed out the sides
I finally said "forget it" to the swirly noodle design and decided to pipe straight.
Ended up with a 4" cake that looked like a giant chestnut, which was pretty cool.
But you can still see the noodles being crumbly and grainy, this was after thawing.

Where's the meringues??

4 inch "Giant Chestnut" cut
Mr. Meow ate an unfinished cake that I was just setting in the fridge (no chestnut cream on top) but he still swears that it was friggin' awesome.


  1. Thanks for the detailed step by step recipe! Really hope to try this sometime but it seems to take an ass-load of work + a WHOLE day? :p

    1. I truly believe that anything that looks good requires commitment.
      Macarons vs chocolate chip cookies: 3 hours vs 0.5 hour. But macarons are more attractive.
      Anyway, there was just a lot of measuring and portioning. And I am REALLY thankful for quality canned chestnuts. But, you can probably buy a jar of chestnut spread (Bonne Maman) and skip the paste making portion even.

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