Searching for Dessert Recipes using Sweet Chestnuts, I chanced upon this delicious looking Mont Blanc layer cake recipe out of The Guardian, by Dan Lepard, the brilliant bread (and now Dessert) maker. I just can’t resist the look of it.
This Mont Blanc Layer Cake recipe sounds incredible. A cake for Christmas entertaining, made with crisp meringue layered with chestnut and ricotta cream and drizzled with melted dark chocolate. This is going to be one of my Christmas treats. Bet even the grandchildren will eat it.
- The whites from 5 medium eggs
- 200 g caster sugar plus extra depending on taste
- 125 g icing sugar
- 300 g tinned unsweetened chestnut puree
- 350 ml double cream
- 150 g ricotta
- the seeds from 1 vanilla pod
- 75 g dark chocolate, carefully melted (don't melt until just before you put the layers together
- Cover 3 baking trays with foil (foil doesn't wobble around as much as paper when you're spreading the uncooked meringue).
- With a lightly buttered finger, trace the outline of an 18cm circle (or thereabouts) on each foil-covered tray. You need room in the oven to bake all three meringues at once, so if your oven has only 2 shelves, you'll need to squeeze three smaller circles on to 2 trays instead (or bake it well ahead and bake in 2 batches).
- Gently warm the egg whites and their mixing bowl (over a pan of very lightly simmering water, for instance, though take care the bowl doesn't come into contact with the water, otherwise the egg whites will cook), then, using an electric whisk, beat the whites to a stiff froth.
- Sprinkle a quarter of the caster sugar at a time over the whites and whisk through on high speed until the grains disappear and the mixture ends up very thick and glossy.
- Sift and fold in the icing sugar until the mixture is smooth, then dollop a third of the meringue mix on to each prepared foil circle and spread into a disc with a spatula.
- Bake at 140C (120Fan-assisted) 285F/gas mark 1 for about 90 minutes, or until crisp, slightly beige with a firm crust. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Melt the chocolate slowly in a bowl sitting on a pan of simmering water. Don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.
- In a bowl, beat the chestnut puree, 250 ml double cream, ricotta, vanilla and enough sugar gently to sweeten the mix, until very thick
- Peel one cold meringue disc carefully from the foil and place on a serving plate. Spread with a third of the chestnut cream and swirl melted chocolate all over. Repeat with a second meringue, chestnut cream and chocolate and top with the last meringue.
- Whip 100 ml double cream until thick, spoon this on to the meringue top to make a peak, then pipe on the last of the chestnut cream in a swirl. Drizzle with more melted chocolate and serve.