Montebianco (Mont Blanc)

Mont Blanc dessert   Traditional recipe of France, Aosta, Piedmont, Lombardy

Mont Blanc dessert (in Italian Montebianco) is a sweet that has French origins. In Italy, however, it is widespread in all regions close to France (Valle d'Aosta, Piedmont and Lombardy) and even beyond. In Tuscany you can eat something similar known as Monte Amiata. In both cases dessert name reminds the typical mountain of the geographical area. The traditional recipe calls for quality brown chestnuts, milk, vanilla, rum, granulated sugar, salt and whipping cream. Someone adds powdered cocoa too. There are various ways to garnish: sugar violets, marron glacé, little meringues ... I propose my own variant that has always a lot of success with my guests and a special way to serve it.

French dessert famous in Italy too, Mont Blanc zoom »
Mont Blanc in a cup

Ingredients / Serves 4

  • 500g (1.1 pound) brown chestnuts
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 400ml (13 1/2 fluid ounces - 1 2/3 cups) semi-skimmed milk
  • 120g (4 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Cointreau liquor
  • 250ml (8 1/2 fluid ounces) whipping cream
  • Bar of dark chocolate to make some flakes
  • Salt
  • Time:
    preparation: 30 minutes
    plus cooling time
    cooking: 1 hour 30 minutes
    total: 2 hours
  • Difficulty:
    easy recipe
  • How many calories in a serving?
    Calories: 553 (kcal) 28 % GDA (*)- 2313 (kJ)
    Protein: 7.7 (g) 16 % GDA
    Total fat: 23.8 (g) 34 % GDA
    Total carbohydrate: 78.2 (g) 29 % GDA
    Sugars: 48.6 (g) 54 % GDA

Look at infographic of nutrition facts

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Mont Blanc dessert recipe

Preparation and cooking

  • - First step: boiling chestnuts in water.
    Wash chestnuts under running water.
    Make a cut on the flat side of everyone, crosswise.
    Put chestnuts in a pot. Cover them with abundant cold water and add a pinch of salt.
    Bring to a boil, lower heat to the minimum and continue cooking, about an hour.
    Remove both peels.
    Transfer peeled chestnuts in another little pot.
  • - Second step: boiling peeled chestnusts in milk.
    Pour milk into the second pot. Add sugar and vanilla bean too.
    Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to the minimum and simmer until chestnuts are well cooked, at least 30 minutes.
    Generally I cook them until all milk is well reduced.
    Remove vanilla bean and pass chestnut mixture through a sieve or in a food mill with small holes.
    Let all cool.
  • - Third step: adding liquor.
    Add Cointreau and stir well until a cream.
    Let it rest for an hour, even in the fridge.
  • - Fourth step: it's time for potato masher.
    Pass chestnut and liquor mixture through a potato masher directly into your serving dish.
    Scratch the surface of dark chocolate with a boxcutter, to get flakes. Do this operation on the cake, directly.
    At this point you can chill until serving.

Just before serving

  • - Just before serving, whip cream without adding any sugar, transfer it to a pastry bag and decorate the surface of your Mont Blanc as you wish.
  • - Serve at once.
    You have to serve portioned Mont Blanc in a saucer accompanied by a dessert spoon.
    You can also assemble your dessert in a cup as you can look at the photo, garnish whipped cream with other chocolate flakes and serve with a dessert spoon.

Note

Tips

  • - Brown chestnuts are the best quality for Mont Blanc. They are enough big and sweet with a suitable pulp. In the absence of brown chestnuts, however, choose the biggest chestnuts you can find. Generally I always add 3 to 4 brown chestnuts more than the recommended dose to compensate for the inevitable waste.
  • - The liquor used to flavor chestnut cream has always been rum. With these doses you have to add about 4 tbsp. But I prefer Cointreau. My Mont Blanc tastes fantastic! Try it for yourself!
  • - Some people add powdered sugar and / or cocoa to chestnut cream together with rum.
  • - I prefer to assemble my Mont Blanc in individual portions in cup, as you can see in the photo. So I avoid any kind of problem in making portions of my dessert. And it is also much more comfortable for my guests ;))

Menu planning

  • - Mont Blanc is a dessert rich in ingredients and so hard to digest for some people. I strongly advise against choosing it to close any full menu with a lot of courses. For example, I find it inappropriate for Christmastime. Yet, I see it often recommended as sweet on these occasions.
  • - The right season to taste Mont Blanc is autumn, from October to December.
  • - I absolutely do not recommend Mont Blanc to close a fish menu given its wealth of whipped cream.
  • - On the contrary, I think it is perfect for a meat menu without a lot of sauces.

Healthy eating

  • - A look at Mont Blanc calories? remarkable, is not it? but entirely predictable given that chestnuts are highly energetic. In fact, their nutrient supply is higher than fresh fruit in general. They have always been used in the Italian "cucina povera" because replacing bread well. Besides they are also rich in protein, vitamins and other nutrients. Chestnuts are suitable for those suffering from anemia, emaciation and loss of appetite ... no need to say more, right?
    No, there is something else to say about sugars. A single serving and you have reached the daily goal of simple sugars suggested by WHO.
  • - I have not considered dark chocolate in calories but I assure you that its amount is very small, a few grams for all servings.
  • - I make Mont Blanc very rarely because of its nutritional context. Anyway you can act to lower calories, fat and sugar. First of all, 4 servings seem to me very few. In writing the recipe I complied with the conventional doses but generally I make 6 individual bowls with 500 grams (1.1 pound) of chestnuts. And then I use a much smaller amount of whipped cream. Mont Blanc is one of those rare cases in which I use whipped cream spray.
    Here are the new values using the same doses for 6 servings.
    Energy: 369 kCal (1542 kJ)
    Protein: 5.2g
    Fat: 15.9g
    Carbo: 52.1g of which sugar: 32.4g
  • - Fiber per serving: 5.0 grams

Loretta

What's the right wine for " Mont Blanc dessert "?

In this case my husband and I recommend to pair a sweet but dry French wine to Mont Blanc: Muscat de Frontignan.