My son’s favorite song these days is “Ookina Kuri no Ki no Shita de” (Under the Big Chesnut Tree). He seemed bringing home a deep memory about this song since it was taught in jidokan (children hall) during the last month, which is like compulsory song for Japanese kids in the autumn. Haha. Meanwhile, in the Mom’s world, kuri (chestnut) itself started stealing my heart by showing up more often on Japanese patisserie, Japanese cooking programs, Japanese foodie accounts, etc. right after the summer season ends.. 🤤 Anddd as a nuts big fan, I can’t resist its charm that impulsively bought a basket of fresh chesnuts without idea how much effort I need to peel until I spent 1,5 hours just to separate the meats and the shells of (only) two dozens chesnuts 😑. Phew!
I read the recipe to make maron paste (マロンペースト) from scratch indeed, but it didn’t tell anything about peeling process, just boiling, and between the hectic moments in preparing dinner meal, I had no time to watch the video, so I kept going. After boiling in the covered pot for 20 minutes, I added a pinch of salt, boiled again for 5 minutes, drained the water, soaked the chesnuts in the cold water, then peeled it using small knife.
I think I’ll buy the ready-to-eat chesnuts next time. Thank you for the experience though! LOL
I was a little confused to see the chesnut fleshes were mostly yellow because I expected it to be reddish brown to put in the cake as seen in the images. Totally amateur, huh?
While I was cleaning the table after ‘battle’ versus chesnut shells, my senior from college texted me commenting on my Stories above, “Make the mont blanc”, and I said “Yes, that’s what I wanna make!”, then turned into discussion about how the color and the texture of chesnuts paste (or maron paste) should be. I was still not sure my chesnuts would be brown instead of yellow. 😂
I forgot to measure the raw chesnut weight, but for MAKING PUREE I had to scale everything. A simple recipe on Recipe Rakuten matched to my preference for ingredients and flavor: not using cream (due to availability) and not too sweet. What I finally mixed for puree:
– 261 gram chesnut fleshes
– 150 ml whole milk
– 2 Tbs sugar (reduced from the recipe)
It had been Musa’s sleep time (21.30 JST), but I was too excited to proceed to the next step: SIFTING. For this process, I followed Mark’s suggestion.
To get the smooth velvety consistency, it has to be passed through a very fine mesh. I found that working with small amounts and using the blade of a rubber spatula (with the handle removed) to force it through worked the best.
I don’t know what he meant with “double mesh strainer”, but I just used the only flour strainer I have and it worked amazingly without leftover!
At the beginning my progress in sifting was very slow, then I figured out that holding spatula blade horizontally and press the puree using the edges instead of its tip could speed the process because it gave more pressure.
The final result was super satisfying for a first timer!
AFAIK, there’s many type of cakes we can choose for the mont blanc base. My debut on mont blanc cake used almond cream, which was more like “crust” after baking. In Japan, I see that people prefer the texture like sponge cake either in roll cake or castella form.
In this second trial of mont blanc, I actually tried to make the roll cake, but it’s failed (cracking again! ugh haven’t conquered this cake challenge), so I just cut it in discs, and decorate them with cream and the maron paste. And oh, since I carried it to a party and needed the cakes to stay still, I did extra work by putting small amount of sugar frosting at the bottom of cake discs and cake liners. See my drop-proof testing video in the end of this post to see how it held the formation quite well!
I used two piping tips for decoration: one regular tip (round) for cream and the small mont blanc tip I bought from Tomiz store few weeks ago.
In my first trial of mont blanc, I still used the regular tip and manually made the “mount”. It took long time to fix the pile when I was out of the track. Haha. By using the designated tip this time, my job was getting much easier and done faster.
Finally, official photo for #recipega.
As I promised, here the video when I tested the stability of cake packaging to make sure that it won’t crash each other during transport.