This autumnal dessert is loved in northern Italy as much as in Switzerland and France: sweet chestnut puree with a dollop of whipped cream on top. Majestic like the real Mont Blanc. And incredibly deliciousJump to Recipe
The dessert of the poor
In Italy, you are sure to find Montebianco served in the Aosta Valley as well as in Piedmont and Lombardy. Everywhere where sweet chestnuts thrive. This delicious dessert can be traced back to the 17th century. In those days, only the rich could afford the luxury of a dessert. Most people in the barren mountain regions hardly had enough to eat anyway. But the nutritious chestnuts often helped the poor population survive times of famine. And on festive and special occasions, a dessert was even served. It is said that the “mountain” of chestnut puree was first served in the area around Mont Blanc.
The original recipe is very simple. The roasted chestnuts are cooked with milk and sugar to a soft cream and refined with whipped cream and cocoa. Traditionally, Montebianco is served on a serving plate and placed in the middle of the table as in the old days. Everyone is given a spoon and can help themselves. Of course you can also make individual portions. Not only the presentation, but also the recipe is flexible. So vegans can use almond milk and vegetarian whipped cream. Some also replace the cocoa with Matcha tea powder, which gives Montebianco a Far Eastern touch.
- 700 g chestnuts with shell
- 700 ml milk full fat
- 1 vanilla pod
- 120 g sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp rum optional
- 250-500 ml whipped cream
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- cocoa powder
Boil chestnuts in water until soft and peel them.
Simmer on a low flame with milk, sugar, vanilla pod and a pinch of salt until the chestnuts have absorbed all the liquid. Stir until creamy and allow the mixture to cool down.
Add rum and press the chestnut cream directly onto the serving dish using a potato press. If you are able, try to create a mountain.
Whip the cream with the icing sugar until stiff and decorate your “mountain” with it. You can decide how “snowy” your mountain should be!
As an alternative to fresh chestnuts, you can use 200 g chestnut flour or pre-cooked chestnuts, which saves a lot of time. If you are a chocolate lover, you can stir around 20 g of unsweetened cocoa powder or dark chocolate pieces into the chestnut cream.