For some of you who might be following on the Aspiring Bakers #2, you know that the theme for this month is CHRISTMAS.. we can bake, cook, roast anything related to Christmas.In the latest issue of the magazine, "My nourishment', there are actually quite a number of christmas recipes in there but there this picture that actually caught my eye, they call it ' Mont Blanc-Cream of Chestnut on Almond Tart '. Google ' Mont Blanc' and it will tell you that it is the highest mountain in the Alps, Western Europe and The European Unions. So somebody named this tart as Mont Blanc as it was baked and assembled in such a way that it looks like a mountain.
My mont blanc looks ugly actually , well it's a very cheat version of mont blanc..you read then you know why..I will post the original recipe from the magazine here but i actually made a little changes, not that i purposely made but out of accidents..2 accidents. Sorry friends, if you wanna try this, i would suggest to stick to the original recipe. These tarts are divided into 4 parts ie base of the tart, the almond cream to pipe onto the base, then the mascarpone filling to pipe on to form mountains and lastly some chestnut cream as finishing touch around the "mountains". The 1st mistake i did was on the chestnut cream, i thought of just making a chestnut puree and then just blend in some whipping cream..i did that but i added too much whipping cream..well the cream did actually have the taste of chestnut ..infact i can still get to taste the nutty feeling of the chestnut paste but not so much as it should be..and the colour of this cream should be a little on the brown side but because of the volume of whipped cream that i poured in, it actually turned white. From the picture, you can see that it's brown..oh, it's because i cheated! So disappointed with the cream, i added a little brown colouring to restore its brown colour, ha!
The 2nd mistake which i did was the mascarpone filling..this is one thing that we should take note ..to check our ingredients before baking. I never checked and when i opened my remaining half tub of mascarpone cheese, i found out that it has turned bad. So i just replaced that with cream cheese which i have in my fridge. But i found that it's not really a good combination where the strong flavour of the cream cheese have actually covered the supposedly lovely taste of the nutty chestnut cream. But the tart base was delicious.If i serve this to my friends, i still think they would love this but it's just that it doesnt seem to bring out the flavours of the chestnut here..and also on the mascarpone filling, otherwise it would really be a divine! Nevertheless of all these mistakes i made, i would still be submitting my entry to the Aspiring Bakers Challenge#2 -Christmas (Dec2010). One day, i shall try making a better looking mont blanc!!
Original Recipe (from My nourishment mag)
Ingredients for Base
75gm ground hazelnuts
30gm icing sugar, sifted
25gm margarine ( i have to use 40gm softened butter to form a dough)
1/2 egg yolk ( i used 1 egg yolk)
3tbsp Grand Marnier( optional)
2 tbsp margarine
2tbsp icing sugar, sifted
2 egg yolks
4tbsp ground almond
1/2 Monin almond syrup ( almond essence)
400gm ready to eat packaged chestnut
120gm granulated sugar
150gm red wine
100gm whipping cream
1tbsp fine granulated sugar
250gm mascarpone cheese
1/4 tsp vanilla seed from 1 vanilla pod
Method to make the almond base
1.Preheat oven to 180C.Sieve the flour into a large bowl, pour in ground hazelnuts and iing sugar to mix. Rub in margarine then add egg yolk and stir to combine.
2.Roll the dough out until 1/2 cm thick. Using a small 1.5inch round cutter, cut out a circle of dough and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat until all the dough is used up, around 10 pieces.
3. To make almond cream, cream margarine and sugar together with a wooden spatula, add egg yolk, ground almond and almond essence.Mix well and make into a paste. Transfer the almond paste into a piping bag and pipe onto base.
4.Bake in preheated oven for 15-20mins or until cooked. Cool on rack.
5.Mix together the marmalade and grand marnier, brush generously over almond base to coat, keep aside.
To make chestnut cream
1.In a saucepan, melt margarine and sugar over medium heat. Stir until sugar starts to caramelise, add in chestnuts and keep stirring until chestnuts evenly coated with melted sugar.
2.Pour in red wine, turn heat to low and simmer until liquid is reduced and turns syrupy, while the chestnuts are fork tender.
3.Mash chestnuts well and strain thru a strainer to get a smooth and creamy paste. Whisk together whipping cream and sugar until stiff, fold into chestnut paste to form chestnut cream. Transfer the cream into piping bag. Keep aside until ready to use.
1.Mix together the mascarpone cheese and vanilla seeds.Transfer the mascarpone mixture to a piping bag fitted with nozzle to pipe 'mountains'
2.Pipe an upright mound of mascarpone onto the almond base, then pipe chestnut cream over the mascarpone cheese in spiral patter, piling it high until the mascarpone is well covered. Refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled.
Notes: I've replaced all the margarine used with softened butter..the original recipe states "Daisy"margarine, their sponsors for this and also on the 'Monin' almond syrup.