Friday afternoon, departments store. In the elevator with me a mommy with two kids, a 5 years old and a 4-ish years old. Doors open, mommy heads right – kids head left. Mommy’s visibly stressed and tired. ‘All right’ – she goes – ‘Daddy’s gonna have you tomorrow’. I smile and feel totally empathetic with her, completely able to imagine my self in her situation except that the twins would have gone one right – one left while me going straight ahead.
That very night we had some guests over for dinner, a nice couple in their mid 40s with two very bright kids (13 and 15 years old), both attending boarding school at Arrow College. Obviously they are super proud of them, being this one of the best school in the world, but I thought I would feel so lonely without the twins around anymore….
Bottomline: keep calm and carry on. Quite appropriate now.
After our meal I served Mont Blanc, lovely and somewhat a seasonal dessert.
150 gr egg whites, at room temperature
300 gr caster sugar
150 ml whipping cream
300 gr peeled and boiled chestnuts
300 ml whole milk
a drop of rum
100 gr icing sugar
6 marrons glacé
1 vanilla pod
chocolate powder or plain dark chocolate finely grated, to serve
Preheat the oven to 110°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Pencil 8cm circles on the paper, spaced apart.
On a Bain-Marie, heat the egg whites together with the caster sugar until it is all dissolved.
It’s going to take approximately 8-9 minutes, on medium heat.
Then, beat it all until it is firm.
Spoon into a large piping bag fitted with a plain 1cm nozzle and pipe rounds onto the paper, using the circles as a guide.
Bake until firm to the touch.
Cool on a wire rack.
You can prepare the meringues and keep them stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
In a pot, take the peeled chestnuts together with the milk, the icing sugar and the vanilla pod to boil.
Stir and break the chestnuts down with a spoon. Let everything boil until quite reduced but still loosen.
Cream this with the help of a food processor, add a bit of rum and let it cool down.
Whip the whipping cream.
Place one marron glacé on the meringue, then spoon a generous amount of whipped cream on top of the marron glacé.
Now, using a 3mm plain nozzle pipe wiggly lines of chestnuts purée over the whipped cream.
Refrigerate this until ready to serve.
Sprinkle with grated chocolate or chocolate powder before serving.