Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Dan Lepard's Mont Blanc Layer Cake

Christmas desserts are a difficult area. After a big meal, forcing down a traditional rich Christmas pudding can feel like a chore rather than the delight that a dessert should be. Tastes are changing too - so many people don't even like  Christmas pudding nowadays, which is a very puzzling phenomenon to me. Neither of my children eat Christmas pudding, so with no Christmas Day guests it was going to be  pointless to produce one.

This year, I dithered so long trying to decide what to make that FB stepped in and produced this recipe for a tower of meringue and chestnut cream from her recipe file. I'm not very experienced with meringues, but the recipe seemed simple enough and there was no-one here but family to see if it didn't turn out well.

Fortunately things turned out well, after an initial miscalculation with the circle sizes for the meringue layers, which almost had me making 6" circles instead of 7". I don't even know why I tried to translate the centimetre measurements to inches in the first place as I usually consider myself bilingual in baking weights and measures!  I had a little weeping on one of the meringue layers, but not enough to spoil the appearance of the dessert, once it was constructed.

The only thing I changed about the dessert construction was to leave off the 'peak' of whipped cream on the top. This was because I didn't read the instructions properly and didn't have the time or energy to whip extra cream or pipe the chestnut cream at the last minute stage, as I had left the assembly until just before serving. I think I only added about 4 tablespoons of extra sugar to the chestnut cream, but I was just pouring it from the bag and tasting as I beat everything together. It was difficult to decide how sweet to make the cream as the sweetness of the meringues had to be considered - I stopped adding sugar just before I felt the cream was sweet enough to eat alone.

This was a great choice for a dessert to follow a large meal - light but still rich enough to seem special! We were all surprise by how subtle and mild the flavour of the chestnut purée was, but it gave extra body to the creamy layer and balanced the sweetness of the meringue. The general consensus was that the dessert needed more chocolate for a better flavour, but we are a family of chocoholics - more is always better! I was a little concerned about how well the meringue would hold up after the dessert was constructed, so I made a warm chocolate sauce to serve with the leftovers on the second day, in case the meringue was too soggy. This got everyone's approval as an improvement over the original. Although the dessert kept fairly well, it was collapsing a bit by the second day, so is something that ideally should be eaten all at once.

7 comments:

Miss C Flash said...

Wow, this a stunning Xmas alternative to the traditional Xmas oudding x

Foodycat said...

It looks majestic! Well done!

Jude said...

OMG. That looks just as gorgeous as Dan's. Well done Sue!

Joanna @ Zeb Bakes said...

That looks fabulous! I am sure everyone was incredibly happy to see that appear on the table, what a show stopper :)

Phil in the Kitchen said...

I love the sound of this - meringue is pretty much guaranteed to make me happy. I remember eating something very like this in one of my favourite restaurants back in the 1980s. It reminds me of that over the top decade - I mean that in a good way, of course.

Caroline said...

That's a stunner and obviously a perfect Christmas dessert! Glad to hear it turned out well and was well received.

Karen S Booth said...

I just popped over to wish you a very happy New Year! Love Karen xxxx