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Petits Monts Blancs

Chestnut has an amazing affinity with meringue, and here the creamy richness of mascarpone is lightened by fromage frais. This recipe has been devised as part of the New Year's Eve timed plan, which is why there are instructions to freeze the meringues; you can, of course, make the entire recipe in one go.

 Petits Monts Blancs

  Makes 8

For the meringues:
 2 large egg whites
 4oz (110 g) white caster sugar
For the topping:
 9 oz (250 g) Mascarpone
 7 fl oz (200 ml) 8 per cent fat fromage frais
 1 rounded dessertspoon caster sugar
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To finish:
 2 x 250g tins creme de marrons de l'Ardeche (sweetened chestnut puree), chilled
 a little icing sugar
To decorate:
 8 whole marrons glaces, sliced
 a little icing sugar
 Preheat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F, 150°C.
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You will also need a large baking sheet measuring 16 x 12 in (40 x 30 cm), lined with baking parchment.

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One


To make the meringues, place the egg whites in a large, grease-free bowl and, using an electric hand whisk on a low speed, begin whisking.

Continue for about 2 minutes, until the whites are foamy, then switch the speed to medium and carry on whisking for another minute. Now turn the speed to high and continue whisking until the egg whites reach the stiff-peak stage.

Next, whisk the sugar in on fast speed, a little (about a dessertspoon) at a time, until you have a stiff and glossy mixture.

Now all you do is spoon 8 heaped dessertspoons of the mixture on to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them evenly. Then, using the back of the spoon or a small palette knife, hollow out the centres.

Don’t worry if they are not all the same shape – random and rocky is how I would describe them.

Next, pop them on the centre shelf of the oven, immediately reduce the heat to gas mark 1, 275°F, 140°C, and leave them for 30 minutes.

After that, turn the oven off and leave the meringues to dry out in the warmth of the oven until it is completely cold (usually about 4 hours).

When cold, transfer the meringues to a plastic freezer box to freeze, ready for New Year’s Eve (or whenever you need them).

Make the mascarpone vanilla cream by whisking the first 4 ingredients together and chill till needed.

To assemble the Monts Blancs, spoon equal quantities of the crème de marrons into each meringue and then spoon the mascarpone cream on top.

Add some sliced marrons glacés to each one and dust with icing sugar, adding a sparkler to each one to light at the table, if you like.


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