Monday, 3 May 2010

Climbing mont blanc while in the kitchen

I'm always nervous when I need to pipe something on my desserts, mainly due to the fact that the damage is usually irreversible and somehow I simply lack the skill to do it beautifully like its meant to be. This weekend I set myself up for a challenge by working on a chestnut piece involving plenty of piping - a dessert commonly known as "mont blanc".

There are 3 parts to this dessert: the sable breton base, a center filling made with dark chocolate mousse (or any flavored mousse that goes well with chestnut) and last but not least the signature chestnut cream "noodles" on the top.

The sable breton base and dark chocolate mousse filling were manageable, though I had to improvise slightly the method for rolling and shaping the sable breton base due to the warm weekend we had (is summer finally here to stay??). I made the base first and since the dough needed 1 to 2 hours rest in the fridge before baking, made use of the waiting time to complete the dark chocolate mousse which had set nicely for removal from mold by the time the sable breton base was baked and cooled. Putting together the chestnut cream was also relatively easy - the recipe actually called for dark rum but I didn't have any at home so used cointreau instead which also goes well with chestnut. I also used lemon zest instead of orange zest (as specified in the recipe) for the sable breton.

The most tricky bit came when I had to complete the ensemble by piping the chestnut cream on top of the tart in a manner that should ideally look more like an organized ball (or half a ball) of yarn, yet mine was more inclined to look like a pile of messily tossed permed brown wheat soba (yes, that's not a typo - it looked permed)... sigh... so guess what I did? I trashed the first batch and tried again, with the stubborn belief that I can't be that bad at piping!!

So, the pictures you see here are that of my second attempt (I was too distraught to take photos of my first attempt). As you can see, I still need to work on my piping skills... Thankfully, no matter how it was piped, the chestnut cream tasted lovely together with the sable breton and dark chocolate mousse. Much thanks to Aran for the original recipe!

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