An Elegant Last-Minute Dessert for New Year’s Eve

Although I have long been a fan of the famous French dessert known as the Mont Blanc (designed to honor the famous mountain in the Alps), I have never made the sweet confection myself. The most famous interpretation from Angelina’s, a celebrated tearoom and pastry shop in Paris, is composed of an individual cake round that is topped with a meringue dome and some whipped cream. The meringue is covered with chestnut spread piped in thin strands around the dessert and then dusted with powdered sugar.  If prepared from scratch, you would need to bake the cake rounds plus the meringues, put together the chestnut spread, and whip the cream. Whipping the cream is the only easy part! Last spring while in Paris, I tasted what I now refer to as a “shortcut” Mont Blanc.

At a Left Bank café, my husband and I ordered their Mont Blanc. Several minutes later a waiter arrived at our table with a small shallow bowl filled with scoops of vanilla ice cream surrounded by dollops of purchased chestnut spread, both drizzled with a little rum, and covered with a mountain of whipped cream plus a single petite meringue cookie at the top. Although it was a far cry from the stylish Parisian versions displayed by patisseries like Angelina’s, the essential delicious flavors and contrasting textures were present and very appealing.

For New Year’s Eve, I’ve added a few of my own touches to that simple café variation. I placed scoops of good quality vanilla ice cream in the center of martini glasses, then arranged dollops of chestnut spread around them, and drizzled both with dark rum.  Next, I covered the ice cream with a mountain of whipped cream and finished with a sprinkle of meringue crumbles and a dusting of cocoa powder. Voilà!The 15-minute Mont Blanc!

Happy New 2024 to all!






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Last-Minute Mont Blancs

3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 qt good quality vanilla ice cream transferred to the refrigerator from the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes before using
One 8.75 ounce can Faugier Chestnut Spread  (See market tip.)
6 tsp dark rum
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp coarsely crumbled vanilla meringues (See market tip.)
Unsweetened cocoa powder for sprinkling

4 martini glasses or 4 wide-mouthed wine glasses

1.Place the cream in a medium mixing bowl and with an electric mixer beat until soft peaks form. Set cream aside.

2.Using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop out two medium (not large) scoops of vanilla ice cream and place them in the center of each martini or wine glass.

3.Arrange 5 generous teaspoons of chestnut spread equidistantly around the base of the ice cream in each of the glasses. Drizzle the ice cream and the chestnut spread in each glass with 1 1/2 teaspoons of rum.

4.Mound 1/3 cup of the whipped cream over the ice cream leaving a glimpse of the chestnut spread visible in each of the glasses. Sprinkle each serving with 2 teaspoons of the meringue crumbles and then dust with some cocoa powder. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Market tips:

Clement Faugier chestnut spread, a well known French brand, works well in this recipe. You can find it in specialty food shops and on Amazon. You’ll need the smaller 8.75 oz can.(You’ll have some leftover; it’s delicious folded into whipped cream along with some rum.) Check it out here.

Trader Joe’s sells clear boxes of Vanilla Meringues.

Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2023

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