Saturday, January 1, 2011

Mont Blanc Cake モンブラン


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Happy 2011, everyone! How have your holidays been? I hope you all had a great holiday season with family and friends. :) I certainly did! *hic*

This being my very first post for 2011, I wanted to make something special to herald in the new year. Well, here it is, the Mont Blanc that I have been meaning to make forever, but never did ... until now!

As you may well know, this cake - named after the tallest mountain in Western Europe - is hugely popular in Japan. So popular that you can find it virtually anywhere, even at the humble convenience store. Oh, I sure hope that by starting my blog year with a Mont Blanc, I will not only scale new heights but also return to Japan for more Mont Blancs! Haha!

Anyhow, I have never attempted this cake because of the (perceived) level of difficulty. But while doing Christmas shopping at Cold Storage, I saw cans of pureed chestnuts like this, and decided to Just Do It.



Perfect! I got hold of a can, with the intention of making a Mont Blanc for Christmas Eve dinner (it was Hubby's birthday too!). However, with my household being a democratic one, it was all (them) against one (me) ... and I ended up making a chocolate cake. Yawn.

But I promised myself that before the year was up, I would be eating my Mont Blanc no matter what! :) And so, on the final day of 2010, I finally did it. You'll be happy to know that it is actually quite easy to make ... as long as you have readymade chestnut puree on hand.

Recipe
(largely adapted from Marc's No Recipes - good and fuss-free! See also Sherie's version of the same recipe.)

(A) For sponge base
I used my Hot Milk Sponge Cake instead of a genoise. I like it because the texture is light but still firm enough to hold its shape under that mountain (literally!) of cream and puree. By all means, if you have your favourite sponge cake recipe, use it.


You should pour the batter into two pans (mine was 6" x 9" x 3") so that you get a flatter cake. But I baked the cake whole because my oven is too small.


I used a round cutter (2 1/2") to make rounds, and then halved them horizontally.

(B) For chestnut puree
- 15 oz can of pureed chestnut
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 vanilla bean*
* I used 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Slice the vanilla bean in half length wise and scrape the seeds into a small saucepan. Add the cream, sugar and whisk in the yolk. Heat over low heat, continually stirring until the mixture begins to thicken. Take the pan off the heat and allow the vanilla bean to steep while the mixture cools.

2. When the mixture is cool, put it in a food processor along with the pureed chestnuts. Blitz until smooth and creamy.* Put a spoonful of chestnut puree in the double mesh strainer over a bowl and press through using a spatula. Strain the rest of the chestnut puree, cover and set aside.
* I did not use a food processor. Instead, I handwhisked till as creamy as I could, and then put everything through a sieve (like pureeing baby food).


Tadah! Chestnut puree.

(C) For chestnut cream
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup chestnut puree

1. In the clean dry bowl of an electric mixer, add 3/4 cup of heavy cream. Using the whisk attachment, beat until the cream holds soft peaks. Add the sugar and beat until the sugar is incorporated. Add 1/3 cup of the strained chestnut puree and mix until the cream holds firm peaks being careful not to over mix.

Note: Now, believe me when I say rum and chestnut cream are a match made in heaven. I added 1 tsp rum into the chestnut cream and the taste was elevated to a whole new level!


Must. Add. Rum!


Chestnut cream that was finger lickin' good. This stuff is gold.

Now, you can start putting all three components into a Mont Blanc!


Optional: If you feel that the sponge base is too dry, you can brush on a simple sugar solution, ie, boil equal parts water to sugar till everything dissolves, and then leave to cool (I also added a splash of rum to it for oopmh). Then brush the sugar solution onto the sponge before piping the cream. Pipe a generous dollop of chestnut cream in the centre.


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Next, pipe the chestnut puree. There are piping tips you can buy to produce this spaghetti effect, but don't fret if you don't have one. I cut a hole in my piping bag and piped directly without any tip. You can pipe into a circular mound or into 'grids', as seen above. My Mont Blancs can hardly be described as beautiful, but they will do for a maiden attempt. :P Most of the time, Mont Blancs are topped with a chestnut that has been split in half ... or you can dust some icing sugar on, to give it that snow capped look. I didn't bother because I was too tired from all that insane piping.


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Aside, my sister bought me a Mont Blanc as a birthday cake some years back, and I instantly fell in love with the ambrosial, velvety chestnut goodness. Now, I am just thrilled that I can finally make it myself ... and I know it will only get better. :) I hope you'll like this lovely cake as much as I adore it.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

43 comments:

  1. hehe it's so beautiful and delicious too...yum! too bad i can't find chestnut puree :( but even if i did, i must brush up on my sponge making skills first.

    have a happy new year, may 2011 be prosperous for you and your family!

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  2. Happy New Year, Ju! WHat a great cake to kick start the new year.

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  3. Cute and I can imagine very delicious. Happy 2011! :)

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  4. I've always thought it might be ridiculously time-consuming to pipe out a mountain onto a sponge base but you've done it! It is truly adorable whatever you say :) makes me wanna have a go at it too. Happy New Year Ju x

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  5. Looks delicious! Happy new year and have a wonderful 2011!

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  6. Aargh.. now I am regretting not getting one in Zurich while I was still there yesterday! Saw them everywhere - big and small. Pity your post did not come out just 1 day earlier! :D But I did have the most delicious creamy chestnut mousse.

    Have a wonderful Happy New Year, Ju! May the coming year bring you good health and loads of delicious food adventures!

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  7. Awwww.. thanks for the shoutout babe!

    Lovely looking cake! Feels darn good to be able to strike off one item from the to-do list hor? ^_^

    xx

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  8. Mont blanc cake also in my to-bake-list for so long, may I know to make the chestnut puree, what cream did you use? TIA ^_^

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  9. O Yum! I must try this, it looks wonderful! What a great start to the year! Cheers!

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  10. Happy New Year Ju! Your Mont blanc cake indeed look great! Em... wonder can i get get hold of this chestnut cream in CS after Christmas season....must go check it out tmr :p

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  11. You brought in the New year with grace,and panache..Beauties Ju..I like the addition of the rhum..I bet it makes it..(hic!):)

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  12. omg! it looks sooo YUMMY! mont blanc is something that i always wanted to give it a try (:

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  13. Oh are these gorgeous or what!
    Beautiful Ju!
    Happy New Year my friend!
    L~xo

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  14. Happy 2011 to you and your family! What a way to close 2010 and welcome 2011 with a Mont Blanc. Whatever it is, a tasty delicious cake is a good cake :p

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  15. Happy New Year to u and your family, Ju. Nice Mont Blanc. Same, it's been on to do list for ages, still is :)

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  16. Happy New Year ♥
    Moltissimi Auguri
    per uno splendido 2011

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  17. I've had many mont blancs at restaurants and yours looks just perfect!

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  18. How pretty! I keep meaning to make Mont Blanc but every time I buy chestnut puree, I end up making Nigella's flourless chocolate chestnut cake!

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  19. I love little desserts that are crazy looking! This one seems like as much fun to make as it is to eat!

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  20. Haha! Ju you make me laugh! I know how it is when you want to try out new things but the majority of the votes go for the tried and true. After your Japan posts, I'm loving these Japanese-inspired recipes! I used to work in a Japanese/French bakery back home and boy do I miss that food. Never heard of a Mont Blanc but it looks delicious. So if you feel up to remaking some favorites from your trip, I got your back (but I'll follow your blog regardless, you're great)! Happy 2011 to you and your family!

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  21. happy new year Ju!! I always want to taste this! Somehow it's too sweet for me, but the home-made version is good since we can adapt right?

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  22. oh my. mont blanc has been on my to do list like forever. i keep procrastinating (even when I have that exact same can of puree in my pantry...) but u make it seem so easy! okay, i shall be motivated to make it in 2011! happy new year by the way (:

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  23. Happy New Year! What a nice recipe to kickstart the year.

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  24. I love this cake. I first had it when I was in Japan. It looks so cute.

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  25. Ah !! ce fameux mont blanc !!!! je tenterai ta version car lorsque je le fais c'est souvent mais en verrine ; merci
    Meilleurs voeux pour 2011 !
    Sacha

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  26. Happy New Year to u and your mont blanc looks yummy.

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  27. Happy New Year!
    I was so determined during the year of 2010 that I had to perfect my mont blanc making skills. And then a year has passed and I have only tried twice and far from perfection! I have used the same brand that you have used for yours, only to find that it's too sweet and watery to my liking. I had tried the Helo brand, liked the consistency but very expensive. Then on Christmas Eve I found another brand that is more affordable. Seeing your cake, I am dying to go home and make one right now!

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  28. Happy New Year, Ju!!! Hahaha I think you deserve a huge award for 1. being democratic even though you rule the kitchen and 2. for all that insane piping! Insane, all right! but what a pretty result! I especially liked the grid pattern on your sponge even though it isn't part of the Mont Blanc, because it reminds me of the traditional butter cakes from the little bakeries under the block. :) Have a wonderful 2011!!

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  29. Hi everyone! Happy New Year to all of you!

    Thanks for all your lovely compliments, and I do hope that this post will spawn more Mont Blancs in the blogosphere! Cheers! :)

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  30. Happy New Year! I haven't been around that much, but I wanted to say hi and lovely cake! I've never heard of Mont Blancs, so I'm glad to be introduced to them.

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  31. This looks amazing, Ju! I adore chestnuts in any form. Happy New Year!

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  32. Looks like we both tackled cakes we wanted to make for New Years... gorgeous cupcakes, Ju, you always do such a perfect job. Best wishes for a fabulous New Years!

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  33. I did not know this cake (but then I always learn something from you!) It is so cute - I can well imagine you were tired from all that piping, I am sure my hand would have cramped up halfway through! I don't believe I've had chestnut cream at all, it must be fabulous with the rum.

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  34. Hi Ju,

    your blog is such a wonderful place to go around...i recently found your blog and daily i visit couple of times..You make so many wonderful cakes that a novice baker can do very easily like me..
    I want to ask you some thing .. i have tried your No Ovalette Moist Sponge Cake.As the name says it came out really moist.. The only thing that bothers me is it needs only 1 tsp of condemsed milk and when i want to make this cake i have to open a can of condensed milk for only a little amount? Can you suggest me any other thing.. And i want to ask you which one do you prefer in between Hot milk sponge cake and No ovalette sponge cake?Because i saw most sponge cakes you made are with the second recipe..Sorry asked too many things...

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  35. Thanks again for the lovely comments, everyone! :)

    Anon: Glad you enjoy hanging around. :) You can omit the condensed milk, really. Or if you like, add honey in its place (altho this would alter the taste a little). I have made sponge cakes many times w/o ovalette or condensed milk, and they still turn out nice & moist. I think as long as you beat the eggs long enough, and fold in the dry ingredients gently, you will have a good sponge. I personally like the Hot Milk sponge because it's very much like the Chinese steamed egg cake that I love. But it can be quite heavy compared to the other sponge cakes. So depending on what you are intending to make, the Hot Milk Sponge may not be suitable for cakes which require a light base, eg, a Victoria Sponge. HTH! :)

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  36. Got to make my own chestnut puree when chestnut is in season in May (at Aus)... the cakes are lovely with lots of elegance!

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  37. The mont blancs look amazing! Happy New Year!

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  38. Zoe: Good luck! If you have the patience, homemade puree would be even better!

    Alice: Thanks! :) Happy New Year to you too.

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  39. Hi Ju,

    I plan to make this for my girl's birthday in August. Would like to know whether it's okay to use diary whipping cream for Chestnut Puree (1/2 cup cream) & Chestnut Cream (3/4 cup heavy cream)?

    Please advise.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Lynn

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  40. Hi Lynn, absolutely! I used dairy whipping cream (35% fat) for this recipe. Hope your daughter's cake turns awesome!

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  41. Hi, may I know are original Mont Blanc cakes made of the usual sponge cakes, or chocolate sponge cakes? And any recommendations for delicious whole Mont Blanc cakes in Sg? :)

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  42. I'm not sure about the sponge base. But whole Mont Blancs - Rive Gauche comes to mind. I got one before, at the basement of Liang Court ... not sure if they still make them??

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