Mont Blanc with Poached Pear

5 January 2007

I hope you all had a lovely holiday (and are happy to be back to work :))

I must admit that I haven’t got round to trying many new recipes over the last couple of months, but this is one of the desserts I made over Christmas – I always look forward to trying chestnut recipes when the autumn arrives, but didn’t get a chance to until December this season. I’ve posted about a couple of chestnut desserts here and here, and this time I tried Mont Blanc with poached pear and chocolate sauce from a beautiful book, Season to Taste by Liam Tomlin.

Although all the components were simple to make (and you can make them in advance), it involved some unfamiliar steps for me – slicing the pears really thinly and drying in the oven (with a sprinkle of icing sugar) was definitely a job for the mandolin; I’m glad I could use it as it’s one of the gadgets that tends to be neglected in my kitchen (even though I specifically asked Matthew to get me one as a Christmas present a couple of years ago…). When done, they need special care when removing so as not to break them (I did) – they are so thin and crispy!

In between the layers of chestnut puree (mixed with vanilla bean and lightly whipped double cream) are honey cinnamon flavoured tuilles – subtle but it certainly adds another dimension to the dessert. I especially loved the combination with the espresso poached pears (cooked in espresso + plain syrup), they’re so lovely together not to mention the chocolate sauce. By the way, I got the special Mont Blanc piping nozzle from here a long time ago.

Can’t be bothered going through all the soak-skin process to make chestnut puree? I’d definitely recommend trying it at least once, it’s full of flavour and you can’t beat it (I normally cook them in milk after skinning, add sugar towards the end then sieve) – but it does take a long time and you can make a much simpler version of Mont Blanc using a good puree like this or this. Just make meringues (I guess you can even buy those, but surely you can be bothered making them :)) and top with some chestnut puree and cream of your choice (I prefer whipped double cream but you can use fromage frais, creme fraiche or even mascarpone). It can’t be easier than that!

I also tried chestnut soufflés this time, from a recipe in my favourite book. I’m actually not a fan of soufflés – I suppose the fact that I don’t like warm pudding-type desserts doesn’t help, but for some reason I’ve been wanting to overcome my aversion to soufflés! I’ve tried a few different flavours before but unfortunately I didn’t really like any of them. So there was some trepidation until I tasted this chestnut version, and fortunately I loved it :) The dark rum infused custard sauce definitely helped (Armagnac is used in the book), and I thought the combination of flavour and texture was just right. I’ve made quite a lot of puree this time so I’ll give it another go for sure :)

On another chestnut note – I’ve just found that Ms Gyngell, who runs the Petersham Nurseries cafe in Richmond, London, has written a short story about Angelina’s Mont Blanc as well as a recipe in her first book, A Year in My Kitchen. I’ve posted about this beautiful place here and am looking forward to visiting again soon :)

Food - Sweet        64 comments    Permalink

  • Bravissimo Keiko! I can almost taste that thin, sugary pear crisp right now (but sadly, I stress “almost.”)

    Happy new year to you and Matthew (and the kitten too).

    Posted by Kevin | 5 January 2007 #
  • Fantastic. And the pear looks great too :-)
    Mont blanc is one of those very few deserts i really love but never actually made! You’ve almost convinced me to try ;-))

    Posted by Sigrid | 5 January 2007 #
  • How beautiful! And pears with chestnut paste! I think I’ll head out to the store now, it looks so delicious.

    Posted by Danielle | 5 January 2007 #
  • Hope you had a wonderful holidays Keiko.
    The mont-blanc is stunning, like a winter landscape. What a beautiful way to start the new year!

    Posted by Anita | 5 January 2007 #
  • beautiful mont blanc. I like the idea of using the pears on top.

    Posted by Kat | 6 January 2007 #
  • Happy new year and as usual gorgeous photo and recipe. Now I use a frozen “purée de marrons” “Ravifruit” easier to use !

    Posted by mercotte | 6 January 2007 #
  • Lovely. Simply breathtaking. I can only imagine how crispy those thinly sliced pears were. Did you use any sort of lining on the baking sheet to ensure they would seperate?

    Posted by Stephanie Spears | 6 January 2007 #
  • delicious AND beatiful, as usual…

    Posted by Ales | 6 January 2007 #
  • Wow, looks truly lovely. I received a new mandolin for Christmas this year and maybe this is just the recipe to christen it!

    Posted by steen | 6 January 2007 #
  • Keiko,

    this is such a lovely new year post. Is The Last Course your favourite book? Claudia would be immeasurably happy. To this day I use tricks I learned under her reign.

    And as well as all the hard work Mont Blanc takes, it’s such a whimsical looking sweet— with those strangs of chestnut noodly hair!

    Posted by shuna fish lydon | 6 January 2007 #
  • Heaven! ;-P YUM...

    Posted by Maya | 6 January 2007 #
  • Hi Keiko – Happy New Year!

    I spotted the recipe and picture :) of this mont blanc with poached pears the other day at Waterstones and it made me want to buy the book straight away. Sadly I didn’t as one of my resolutions is to try to buy less cookbooks.

    Sounds like you had lovely holidays…

    Love – fanny

    Posted by fanny | 6 January 2007 #
  • What exquisite photos—edible art!

    Posted by Homesick Texan | 6 January 2007 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    Welcome back in the new year. Liam Tomlin ran one of Australia’s most famous restaurants of recent times and although I haven’t got a copy of his book, I have had the chance to read it. Like you said, it’s an inspiring and wonderful book with beautiful images. This dessert looks absolutely delicious!

    Posted by Steven | 6 January 2007 #
  • Keiko,
    I have a recipe for you with chesnuts!It’s a frozen and carmelized thing we used to make years ago at this restaurant I worked!
    Will send it, happy new year and check out my Ecuador trip on my site!

    Posted by Jeremy | 7 January 2007 #
  • How did you get the pear slices to “stand up” like that? Amazing! Great pictures and lots of creativity in your plating and presentation. :)

    Posted by Rasa Malaysia | 7 January 2007 #
  • So delicate and pretty Keiko! You are the real pastry master! Happy New Year to you!

    Posted by Bea at La Tartine Gourmande | 7 January 2007 #
  • Happy 2007 Keiko !!!
    Ce Mont-Blanc, quelle merveille et quel plaisir pour les yeux !!! J’adore aussi les petites Pavlovas… Merci

    Posted by Camille | 7 January 2007 #
  • Beautiful dessert Keiko. Happy New Year. I look forward to your 2007 creations.

    Posted by Barbara | 7 January 2007 #
  • Hi Keiko, happy new year to you. I stumbled across your website as I needed some comforting images, (can’t eat anything thanks to a stomach bug my flatmate generously shared). I’ve never been huge on pudding, (I rather go for a starter), but these tantalising images and the recipes you’ve provided have opened my eyes (and my palate), to a world of desserts that have yet to be discovered. For this, I thank you and shall attempt this fine art myself as a new years resolution!

    Posted by Flux | 8 January 2007 #
  • Himmm yummy! I love chestnut, I am sure they go very well with pears. Great photos, as always!

    Posted by Zeynep Seda | 8 January 2007 #
  • p.s. this dessert made it into my dreams as I had read the post before bed…

    Posted by shuna fish lydon | 8 January 2007 #
  • Amazing presentation as usual, So when you going to write a book?! ;)


    Posted by slurp! | 8 January 2007 #
  • The detail in your dishes are really impressive! Drying fruit in the oven is something I haven’t managed to do … maybe a case for me to buy a madolin.



    Posted by Francesco | 8 January 2007 #
  • keiko, this is absolutely gorgeous and delectable! you’ve got my vote in foodblog award!

    Posted by Lil | 8 January 2007 #
  • hi keiko!
    what a lovely dessert.. once again! although i’m really not fond of pears or chesnuts, the delicacy of your presentation makes me want to eat it!! i’m glad you’re back!
    happy new year

    Posted by avital | 8 January 2007 #
  • Hi keiko , what a beautiful dessert! I am curious about the chesnut souffle, I am sure it is very flavorful. And espresso poached pear…that is an interesting combination!

    Posted by Veron | 8 January 2007 #
  • Keiko- your photos are so gorgeous. I am enthralled by the photo of the meringues! they are so simple & elegant. Just lovely!


    Posted by L | 9 January 2007 #
  • Great photography as always. Thanks for posting, I always enjoy your site.

    The bottom right photo in the first set of four is my favorite, I like the composition and repetition of the pears and the dots.

    I wish I had the skills to make this stuff, you always make it look so tasty!

    Posted by SD | 9 January 2007 #
  • This is absolutely amazing! I really need to get a mandolin so I can make these paper-thin slices as well!

    Posted by Ellie | 9 January 2007 #
  • It looks lovely.
    I wish I have an artist talent like you do. :)

    Posted by sue | 9 January 2007 #
  • Waaaaow! I hate “meringue” in general, so I try to avoid Mont-Blanc as it’s usually full of sugar-&-eggwhite-dust ;) This one with pears and tuiles is more than correct! About the chestnut puree: I always add 1tbsp amber rhum, and 1tbsp (full full full ;) of Amaretto. Just in case you’d like to change ;) Oh, and Happy New Year!

    Posted by Stéphane | 9 January 2007 #
  • Happy New Year, Keiko! I love chestnuts too. I roast my own for eating (still warm), but I don’t think I will ever make my own paste. But who knows…I want Desserts from Gramercy Tavern now!

    Posted by Julie O'Hara | 9 January 2007 #
  • The pear is amazing!

    Posted by peggy | 9 January 2007 #
  • I just watched Nigella make Mont Blanc and now I see your beautiful post. I will have to try it!

    Posted by Smári | 10 January 2007 #
  • Elegant and delicious as always, Keiko. I had a good chuckle at your mandoline comment. I too asked my wife for one several years ago, then never used it. It wasn’t until I started preparing El Bulli recipes that it became an essential part of my kitchen arsenal. Now I can’t cook without it.

    Posted by rob | 10 January 2007 #
  • How wonderful. I’m still a novice when it comes to chestnuts…must try this…


    Posted by jasmine | 11 January 2007 #
  • That looks amazing. I never seem to have to patience to make sophisticated desserts (evem thoug I sure like to eat them!) but I really admire your dedication. Your pictures are beautiful, too.

    Posted by Honeybee | 11 January 2007 #
  • Absolutely beautiful. So much so, that I can almost forego the recipe and just eat the page. Truly.

    Posted by almost vegetarian | 11 January 2007 #
  • I haven’t checked your blog in such a long time – which is a shame. You never fail to astound me with your photography skills – among the best on the food blog scene.

    Posted by Scott at Real Epicurean | 12 January 2007 #
  • Hi Keiko,
    I did not really understand what is the meringue for…could you explain?
    Marvellous photos!

    Posted by elaysa | 12 January 2007 #
  • dear keiko, what a sublime take on a dessert classic! but of course, being japanese, it is virtually your birthright to perfect the mont blanc ;) thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on the liam tomlin title – now i really want, erm, need, it!

    Posted by Joycelyn | 12 January 2007 #
  • amazing!

    you are so talented.

    Posted by Yael, Israel | 12 January 2007 #
  • those paper-thin pear looks unreal! as always you made mouth watering creation.

    Posted by eliza | 12 January 2007 #
  • Hi everyone, thank you so much for all your kind notes and wishes – I hope you all have a wonderful 2007!

    Stephanie – I used a Silpat for that (it specifies to do so in the book).

    Steven – I’ve read some articles about him, the book really is beautiful :)

    Jeremy – looking forward to it :)

    Flux – hope you’re feeling better now… take care.

    Stephane – I love adding ‘full full full’ of dark rum too :)

    Elaysa – the meringues are just for a simple mont blanc – use them as a base like the picture above.

    Joycelyn – I’m 100% sure you’ll love the book ;)

    Posted by keiko | 12 January 2007 #
  • Keiko! This is so beautiful!!! Happy New Year and I hope to see you soon…In Paris maybe??? bisous

    Posted by Alisa | 13 January 2007 #
  • I really enjoy your photography. The macro shots are always well-lit. What sort of gear are you using to get such great lighting?

    Posted by jef | 13 January 2007 #
  • gorgeous as usual. I tasted the Mont-Blanc a few weeks ago and it was terrific!

    Posted by Christell | 13 January 2007 #
  • Beautiful dessert! I should definitely experiment with chestnuts next Christmas :) I think meringues are to me what souffles are to you! Heehee :)

    Happy New Year! Looking forward to another years of your amazing pictures! :)

    Posted by joey | 15 January 2007 #
  • aww..there are just too preety to bite on now, aren’t they ?:) By the way, they looked absolutely beautiful, thx for sharing.
    Cheers :)

    Posted by MeltiingWok | 16 January 2007 #
  • great I just love this style of photography. I can taste it just by seeing the delicious food.

    Posted by Clifford | 17 January 2007 #
  • Absolutely beautiful, Happy New Year Keiko san!

    Posted by Elena | 18 January 2007 #
  • Just discovered this website by accident (a “cornice pear” google). AMAZING stuff. Beautiful work. Keiko, are you a professional pastry chef? Look forward to visiting this site again and again.

    Are any of the recipes published on the website or am I being blind and missing the link?

    Posted by hungrygirl | 18 January 2007 #
  • Amazing! Magnificent!

    Posted by Margaret Wise | 19 January 2007 #
  • Simply great!!! ;-D
    Keiko you are perfect!!!
    Tatina send a great kiss to you..

    Posted by Gourmet | 22 January 2007 #
  • what a wonderful picture!!!
    merci beaucoup pour l’idée!
    Sorry, but I speak english very bad…!!

    Posted by delice urbain | 28 January 2007 #
  • Hi there, thanks again for all your kind notes.

    Alisa – looking forward to seeing you again soon :)

    Jef – I only use natural light, which is quite hard in the grey British winter!

    Hungrygirl – I don’t always post recipes but there are some. When I don’t I always note where the recipe comes from.

    Posted by keiko | 12 February 2007 #
  • Mmmm I love deserts with chesnuts!
    I am very impressed by people who can make pretty looking pastry – mine always look a bit wonky. Your pics are beautiful!

    Posted by petro | 21 February 2007 #
  • Your blog is so beautiful !
    Congratulations !...

    Posted by clairel | 10 March 2007 #
  • that is the most gorgeous mont blanc i have ever seen! your blog is amazing!

    Posted by Marianna | 23 October 2007 #
  • Hi Keiko:
    I already feel we know each other since I have read your entire blog and have ordered many of the books you like. My first book “Indulgence” arrived today and I absolutely love it. I cannot wait to make something out of it this weekend.

    Your blog is the best there is and I thank you for it so much. Please keep posting since I ge such pleasure of the photos, and every word you write.

    A hug,

    Katy (Santa Barbara, CA)

    Posted by Katy Renner | 17 July 2008 #
  • Hi Katy – thank you so much for your kind note, I’m glad you like the book – I think I prefer her simple recipes like shortbread, scones or madeleines over the complicated ones, how are you finding it so far? I agree with her that you need to use metric in order to measure the ingredients precisely (which is essential in pastry making), I must say I always have a hard time using American cookbooks that don’t have metric! Having said that, you must have amazing produce in California though!

    Posted by keiko | 28 October 2008 #
  • Hi. I was wondering if you could share this recipe as i wanted to try making this for my mum’s bithday…thanks..=)

    Posted by Jack | 29 April 2009 #
  • Hi Jack – you can find the recipe in Season to Taste by Liam Tomlin.

    Posted by keiko | 29 April 2009 #

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