Mont Blanc Is The French Dessert Featuring A Mountain Of Chestnut Puree

The adorable and delicious Mont Blanc dessert gets its name and its aesthetic from the titular mountain in Southern France. Considered a French classic, modern interpretations of the dish can vary quite a bit — from the addition of sweet beans in Japan to a chestnut and chocolate parfait in the States. Traditionally, the dish consisted of a base layer of meringues covered with a chestnut paste and topped with whipped cream. All three layers have a distinctly soft, velvety texture, so the dessert is sometimes paired with a layer of cake or some other ingredient which gives it a bit more bite.

One lovely thing about the dessert is that its size is customizable. You can make individual-sized mountains just as easily as a large cake best eaten with a group. Although the dish is served year-round, chestnuts are more commonly used in the fall and winter when they're in season. Roasted chestnuts are a holiday staple, but they aren't as popular as they used to be. The Mont Blanc dessert is a great way to get your savory nut fix without sacrificing your sweet tooth, making it a perfect treat for anyone who thinks chestnuts are overly bitter.

A mouth-watering mountain

Like so many other recipes, the exact origin of the Mont Blanc dessert is something of a mystery, but it's most commonly attributed to the French sometime in the 17th century. Over the years, it has retained its distinctly French character but has become something of a globetrotter. You'll find it in many high-end bakeries around the world. France and Japan have always had a mutual love of the other's culture and, outside of France, that's where you'll most commonly find this delicacy.

Although you can purchase ready-made chestnut puree, making it from scratch can be very satisfying. It's made by roasting the chestnuts and then boiling them with a dash of vanilla extract. The whipped cream visually mimics the snow-capped peaks of Mont Blanc (French for White Mountain). If you're feeling festive, a sprinkle of powdered sugar and some nutmeg on top ties the whole thing together. If you're buying a Mont Blanc from a bakery, it's not unlikely that it will have a different visual presentation, but the spirit is the same.