fall is the time for chestnuts, and the idea entered my head a few weeks ago that i should really try my hand at making a mont blanc cake. rather than making the standard chestnut creme and chestnut paste covered cake, i decided to insert some poached pears into the equation. i thought it added a nice fruity punch that lightened the rich, nutty taste of the traditional mont blanc.
Poached Pear Mont Blanc Cake
(makes 1 nine-inch cake)
Another multi-step process. Here’s what you need:
- 1 génoise cake recipe (below)
- 1 chestnut cream recipe (below)
- 1 chestnut paste recipe (below)
- 3 poached pears and their poaching liquid
- Carefully cut génoise cake into two even layers.
- Using a pastry brush, dampen the inside surface of the cake layers with the pear poaching liquid.
- Spread a thin layer of chestnut cream on the bottom layer of cake, and gently place the 2nd layer on top. [note: i’d probably make this cake in the future using only one layer. two layers of cake is really too thick.]
- Cut the poached pears in half. Remove the core. Place the pears flat side down on top of the cake, leaving a 1 inch border from the edge.
- Spread the remaining chestnut cream on the top of the cake and pears, making sure to leave a clean 1 inch border from the edge.
- Using a small piping tip or a spaghetti tip, completely cover the pears and chestnut cream with the chestnut paste. [note: if you want a thicker layer of chestnut paste, you should double the chestnut paste recipe below. the amount in the recipe below makes enough to evenly cover the top of this cake in a single layer.]
- Top with a few berries or even gold foil if you’ve got it.
(from Desserts by Pierre Herme)
Butter 4 tbsp
Sugar 1 cup
AP Flour 1 1/3 cups sifted
- Melt the butter over a double boiler and set aside to cool.
- Whisk together the eggs and sugar in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer. Then, place the mixing bowl over a double boiler.
- Continue whisking until the mixture becomes foamy and slightly pale. The temperature should be between 130ºF-140ºF. Takes about 4 minutes.
- Put the mixing bowl back into the stand mixer and continue to beat on high until the mixture triples in volume and you reach the ribbon stage. The batter should be pale and smooth.
- Stir 2 tbsp of the mixture into the butter and set-aside.
- Working with a large rubber spatula, gently fold the sifted flour into the bowl. (You may need to add the flour 2-3 times by shaking it through a strainer). Take care not to deflate the cake too much.
- When the flour is almost completely folded in, at the butter mixture and gently continue to fold 2 or 3 more times.
- Immediately pour the batter into a floured and dusted 9-inch cake pan.
- Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes.
- Let rest in pan for 5 minutes before removing and cooling over a rack.
(adapted from Daniel Boulud)
Heavy Cream or Creme Fraiche 3/4 cup
Chestnut Paste 1/4 cup (I used Clément Faugier’s spreadable chestnut paste.)
- If using creme fraiche, you can just put all the ingredients in the mixing bowl and beat until you get stiff peaks.
- If using heavy cream, whip the heavy cream until you get soft peaks.
- Then add the chestnut paste. Continue to whip until you get stiff peaks.
(adapted from Daniel Boulud)
Chestnut Puree 3/4 cup
Chestnut Paste 1/2 cup (I used Clément Faugier’s spreadable chestnut paste.)
Rum 2 tbsp
Vanilla 1/2 tsp
- Put all ingredients in a food processor. Puree until smooth. You really want to make sure there are no lumps, otherwise it won’t come out of the piping tip properly.