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Mont Blanc

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Sakkarin » Tue May 19, 2020 12:51 pm

I've done a bit of detective work on this, as there seems to be little agreement in the recipes other than that they have chestnut puree, cream and maybe meringue.

Firstly, on Amazon, the actual Jay Rayner story can be read on the "Look Inside" option for his book:

"But as far as I was concerned, the Mont Blanc Henry Harris now served me (at the Hero of Maida) really was perfect."

Link to Amazon excerpt: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=LaO ... nc&f=false

Secondly, I found a review of Hero of Maida, with a photo of the actual Mont Blanc they sell, which is similar to Delia/Rachel's.

Blog link: https://www.thejc.com/comment/blogs/hol ... b-1.478086

He wasn't very impressed! "Meringue, cream and a wormy pile of chestnut puree. It was disappointing, but no less than the sum of its parts. Too-hard meringue tasted manufactured and the cream, too solid. Mr F's ice cream was a safer choice. "

Here's his pic below.

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So that seems to be the legendary Mont Blanc!

The one below is the most off the wall version I found, and in a way illustrates how "deconstruction" had gone bananas, what appears to be a quite simple dish has become something extremely fussy, even if it does look very pretty.

Link to story: https://www.greatitalianchefs.com/recip ... 1586784568

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Here's a roundup of all the other versions off this thread, click on the pix for recipes/articles.

Wiki

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Rachel Khoo

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Nigella

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Dan Leotard

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Delia

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La Cuisine de Josie

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Pepper Pig » Tue May 19, 2020 1:04 pm

Thank you! The Wiki one looks horrible . . . :roll:

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Suelle » Tue May 19, 2020 2:02 pm

I've got a picture in my head (but unfortunately can't find the book I've seen it in), of an individual-sized Mont Blanc consisting of a meringue nest as the base, with long squiggles of piped chestnut purée piled on top of that. I can only assume there was a cream layer between the two.

My imagination is painting a much better dish than any of those Sakkarin has shown! :lol:

More like this but contained inside the meringue nest:
https://www.encoreungateau.com/mont-blanc/
The blog which does what it says on the tin:

http://mainlybaking.blogspot.co.uk/

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Pampy » Tue May 19, 2020 2:07 pm

Lokelani wrote:...from the recipe in my ancient Sainsbury's Puddings & Desserts book, by Carole Handslip printed in 1980. It was Mum's before it was mine & it is an excellent tall, narrow hardback book with the most amazing classic desserts in. Considering it says 99p on the back of it, it was a real bargain!


I have a similar Sainsbugs Indian Cookery book that I bought in 1985 - it's got some fantastic recipes in it!

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Pepper Pig » Tue May 19, 2020 4:03 pm

Sakkarin wrote:Intrigued that one of the Rachel Khoo dishes I've made was her take on floating islands, which also involved meringue.


Floating islands aren't really meringues as we know them though. They are very, very soft. My last supper would include Brasserie Zedel's Floating Islands. I don't think I've ever had a nicer dessert.

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Earthmaiden » Tue May 19, 2020 5:06 pm

I've got that cookery book and others from the excellent series too Lokelani. I am old enough to have bought them when new.

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Stokey Sue » Tue May 19, 2020 6:22 pm

Floating Islands - îles flottantes - quenelles of poached (so soft) meringue floating in a custard was one of OH’s favourites

The texture makes me come over all unnecessary, I could manage most versions of Mont Blanc though if anyone is going to make it I warn you that the prepared sweetened chestnut purée, both the Clement Faugier and the Italian version are so sweet and sticky that Nutella pales by comparison- starting with chestnuts or unsweetened purée is probably a better bet

Looking at the pictures, especially the Maida one, I am puzzled - surely it is meant to look like a snow capped Mont Blanc- so the cream should be on top? :?

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Lokelani » Tue May 19, 2020 7:51 pm

Earthmaiden wrote:I've got that cookery book and others from the excellent series too Lokelani. I am old enough to have bought them when new.


How lovely, if the rest are as good as that one, they are real gems. I wish Mum had bought more of them at the time. It sits on my recipe book shelf looking quite ordinary, but it contains so many of my favourites. I've always loved cooking & remember back to being quite young & helping Mum make things for dinner parties, then being shooed up to bed! We don't entertain like that any more! I seem to remember the Charlotte Russe recipe being very in vogue at the time.
It has my go to recipe for Crepes Suzette & hazelnut meringue. So dated but still so loved. :)
Quite a few of the pages have splodges on them! A sign of a much loved recipe book I guess.

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Stokey Sue » Tue May 19, 2020 10:56 pm

I’ve got a load of the Sainsbury’s books, I was 26 in 1980, so the target market
I still very much use Patricia Lousada’s pasta and baking books, there are a few Josceline Dimbleby recipes I still use though her dinner party style has dated - she was obsessed with soured cream and melted cheese, often together

I don’t have the Carole Handslip book

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby ZeroCook » Wed May 20, 2020 2:54 am

Sakkarin wrote:I've done a bit of detective work on this, as there seems to be little agreement in the recipes other than that they have chestnut puree, cream and maybe meringue.


Wow, thanks for all that Sakkarin. Very interesting.

Had not come across the Mont Blanc dessert before or if I have, it never registered. Did a quick search when this thread started and must say it didn't really appeal - doesn't seem to have much immediate pzazzz or at least the presentation doesn't, since I've never eaten one.

But I think I'd definitely go for Dan Leotard's version tho. Not least because I'm big Leotard fan and the photo of his Mont Blanc looks really really really really good.

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Lokelani » Wed May 20, 2020 11:19 am

Stokey Sue wrote:I’ve got a load of the Sainsbury’s books, I was 26 in 1980, so the target market
I still very much use Patricia Lousada’s pasta and baking books, there are a few Josceline Dimbleby recipes I still use though her dinner party style has dated - she was obsessed with soured cream and melted cheese, often together

I don’t have the Carole Handslip book


I was a very precocious 13 in 1980. Might have something to do with Mum always telling me to stop behaving like a child, from the age of about 5! My love of cooking started really early. I also inherited lots of binders she would have collected monthly magazines for. Supercook Marshall Cavendish & Good For You, as well as some early St Michael cookery books. I don't really look at the enormous binder collections but can't bear to throw them out.

A flick through the old books reveals recipes like avocado ice cream. Would have been really cutting edge at the time! :lol:

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby scullion » Wed May 20, 2020 11:49 am

it may taste ok but i think this recipe should be filed in the horrible looking recipe thread. it reminds me of worm casts!
i'm not a huge fan of sweetened chestnuts - i prefer mine roasted and with savoury things.

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Earthmaiden » Wed May 20, 2020 11:50 am

I've found it! Cordon Bleu minibook of Puddings & Sweets (1969). I got it and one on Casseroles by saving the labels from something circa 1972.

Anyway, this is what I have always thought of as Mont Blanc and have yet to make. Not a meringue in sight!

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Pepper Pig » Wed May 20, 2020 11:58 am

Gosh EM. Eat your heart out Gertude Shilling!

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Stokey Sue » Wed May 20, 2020 2:02 pm

Earthmaiden, I love the blithe instruction to “skin, cook and sieve” 2lb chestnuts - in that order, no details given

Tears before bedtime I’d expect

The only chestnut dessert I’ve made more than once is the French chestnut and chocolate bûche de Noël, I like that but you can’t eat much

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Sakkarin » Wed May 20, 2020 2:20 pm

Skinning chestnuts is a more unpleasant cookery task than using a mandolin! 2 lbs of the wretched things?!?

That white mountain is excessive and looks daft, although when combined with Gertrude Shilling it looks slightly better.

Image

EDIT: MInd you, all that cream, sponge cakes and rum, that version is bordering on trifle!

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Earthmaiden » Wed May 20, 2020 9:02 pm

:lol: in 1972 it looked very impressive! I think it still does actually.

The mind boggles to push even ready prepared chestnuts through a sieve :cry:. How lucky we are to have so many gadgets these days!

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Lokelani » Fri May 22, 2020 11:30 am

Sakkarin wrote:Skinning chestnuts is a more unpleasant cookery task than using a mandolin! 2 lbs of the wretched things?!?

That white mountain is excessive and looks daft, although when combined with Gertrude Shilling it looks slightly better.

Image

EDIT: MInd you, all that cream, sponge cakes and rum, that version is bordering on trifle!


Thank you for a laugh this monring!! :lol:

I use Waitrose frozen chestnuts in Mum's old chestnut stuffing recipe. I remember her getting me & any of my brothers that happened to be around to cut crosses in the bottom of chestnuts. Then they were boiled, then as soon as bearable to touch they had to be peeled. Mountains of them! Thank goodness for frozen & vac pack ones. I think the frozen ones taste nearer fresh personally. They go in casseroles, pies & all sorts here, I love them.

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Pepper Pig » Fri May 22, 2020 4:43 pm

Does anyone remember all the hot chestnut sellers down Oxford Street back in the day? What happened to them? Did they become a victim of Elf and Safety or did they find a better way to make money?

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Re: Mont Blanc

Postby Sakkarin » Fri May 22, 2020 5:09 pm

I remember the hot chestnut guy outside Turnham Green Station that sold bags for sixpence in the early '60s in the freezing winters when we had six foot snowdrifts.

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