This is the recipe of a dessert that is quite popular both in France and Italy. In fact, the 2 nations share a border and the highest mountain in Europe (Monte Bianco/Mont Blanc) which gives the name to this dessert made with chestnuts, whipped cream and chocolate. Its shape reminds of a mountain covered in snow and Monte Bianco literally means “White Mountain”. It is a very filling and super delicious dessert, and one of my favourite winter treats. What I like the most about it is the thick chestnut purée consistency that contrasts with the light whipped cream! And I also love the fact that it is not an overly sweet dessert… it is just right. It used to be my lunch at Angelina’s together with a cup of thick hot chocolate everytime I was in Paris… sigh! It is not hard to make, I’d say the most boring part would be peeling the chestnuts, but if you follow the instructions below it will be a breeze. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Recipe adapted from Giallo Zafferano
For the Monte Bianco
10 gms cocoa powder
700 gms chestnuts
500 ml milk
1 shot rum
1 pinch salt
1 sachet vanillina (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
120 gms sugar
3 tbsp icing sugar
For the decoration
½ tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips
Marrons glacés, chopped
500 ml cream, to whip
3 tbsp icing sugar
The first thing to do is cook the chestnuts. Lay the chestnuts on their flatter side and cut or score halfway around the outer shell until you get to the flesh of the nut.
Put them in a pressure cooker, cover them with water and cook for 10 minutes.
Put the fire off and, as soon as you can handle them without getting burnt, start peeling the chestnuts one by one (do this while still hot or they will be hard to peel). Leave the remaining chestnuts in their cooking liquid while peeling them. You need to remove both the outer and the inner skins.
When peeled, put the chestnuts in a pot with the milk, sugar and salt and boil them for 20 minutes.
Then drain them and keep the chestnut infused sweet milk aside as it makes a great ice cream (the recipe will follow in the next few days).
Blend the chestnuts with the cocoa powder, icing sugar, vanillina and rum until smooth. Let this mixture cool down completely in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.
In the meantime, whip the cream with the icing sugar and keep aside.
Now you can assemble the Monte Bianco. Take a serving dish, put the chestnut mixture in a potato masher and squeeze in on the plate, shaping it like a mountain.
Put the whipped cream in a piping bag and pipe it on your chestnut mountain.
Decorate with some cocoa powder, pieces of marrons glacés and chocolate chips.
Serve and enjoy!