Chestnut Mousse Meringues

EpicureanPiranha | May 12th, 2010 - 23:23

Chestnut Mousse Meringues ~ Elegant & Light

This French dessert is called “Meringue au Marron”, which when literally translated from French is “Chestnut Meringue”. However, the dessert is actually a meringue shell (or individual shells),  filled with a light and airy chestnut mousse.

Solange served this elegant dessert for our Easter brunch in 2010. I love decorating dishes with fresh flowers, and this is a perfect example of how beautiful a dessert can look when decorated with a few carefully chosen fresh leaves and blossoms!

If you love chestnuts, then this is the dessert for you! It’s fairly light because it contains a high proportion of egg whites which are very low in calories, and the dessert itself is also very low in cholesterol if you happen to be watching your cholesterol intake!

As you can see below, it consists of a meringue case, filled with a light mousse made of beaten egg whites, a little wipping cream, chestnut cream  and sugar.

Meringue au marron

A delicate meringue filled with a light chestnut mousse, this was the perfect finale to our Easter brunch!

When Solange prepared this dessert, she made a single, large meringue case; but it will be much simpler to serve if you prepare individual cases. This is because the mousse mixture does not quite set and tends to get a little messy when you are trying [in vain!] to cut the large case into neat portions…. meringues, though they may be absolutely divine, are unfortunately somewhat messy to cut when filled with creamy mousse!

Small, individual shells can look every bit as elegant as the large one.  Serve them on large plates, on lacy paper doilies if you wish. Just before serving, decorate with a few fresh mint leaves and some fresh berries or flowers, and sprinkle lightly with icing [ie: powdered] sugar once again.

So, a little advice if you want to serve this dessert for a special meal:

  • Meringues take some time to “bake”, and are best prepared the night before, since you will get much better results if you use the “slow oven” method to “dry” them out.
  • Meringues can be prepared well in advance and stored for use later on (provided your home isn’t too humid! Moisture and humidity will make meringues go sticky and limp …), so make them when it’s dry and you have a little time on your hands, and then, if you prefer, you can make individual shells instead of one big meringue shell.

The original recipe for this comes from one of my huge encyclopedias of international cooking. I’ve made hundreds of their recipes over the years, and seldom had a problem. But for some reason, the preparation technique for their meringue was rather unusual: they suggest beating the egg whites until stiff, then adding one quarter of the sugar all at once and beating for 1 minute, then folding in the remaining three quarters of the sugar.  Poor Solange used their recipe, and although it looks nice in the photo above, it actually sank quite a bit in the middle and was so fragile that she was in despair! Luckily she managed to lift it onto the serving plate without too much damage [Looking at the photo above you can probably see it was fragile !].

But it’s best to spare yourself this stressful agony, especially if you are making the dessert for a special occasion!  Therefore, I’ve omitted that part of their recipe and replaced it with my own. The recipe below will serve 6.

This, by the way, was the event that prompted me to write the two articles in my Cooking How-To Section on “Making Meringue”!

I’ve also altered the preparation technique for the mousse which was not firm enough using their method.

Individual Chestnut Meringues

Meringue Ingredients

4 large egg whites, room temp
1.5 ml (¼ tsp) of salt
225 g (1 c) granulated sugar
5 ml (1 tsp) pure vanilla

Method

Preheat the oven as indicated for baking meringues using the “slow oven” method [Refer to the articles in the Making Meringue Sub-Section of "Epi's Cooking How-To"]. Trace six 10 cm (4 inch) circles on a sheet of baking parchment. turn it over, and place on a large baking sheet.

Place egg whites and salt in a large bowl. Whip until soft peaks start to form. Measure out three quarters of the sugar. Add sugar about 30 ml (2 Tbs) at a time, beating very well [at med-speed for stand beaters or high speed for a small electric hand beater] after each addition. Once this has all been incorporated the meringue should be very stiff and glossy. Now, gently fold in the remaining quarter of the sugar with a metal spoon, using large lifting motions.

Put the meringue in a large pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. First, pipe meringue into six 10 cm (4 inch) discs using the guides on the parchment paper, and starting from the middle. Once you’ve finished, pipe a border onto the edge of each disc. Make it several rows high.

Bake the shells as directed and reserve until needed.

Note ♥

If you have any meringue left, pipe it into small stars on the same baking sheet if there is lots of room, or on another baking sheet, and bake with the meringue nests. You can then enjoy these as soon as they’re finished baking :-)

Mousse Filling

170 ml (3/4 c) whipping cream [35%]
30 ml (2 Tbs) granulated or superfine white sugar
3 egg whites, room temp
125 g (4 oz) unsweetened chestnut purée from a can [tin]
60 g (1 1/2 c) icing (powdered) sugar

Method

Whip the cream until thick but not too stiff. Now, in a clean dry bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Add the granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff. Using a large metal spoon, take a large spoonful of beaten egg whites and gently fold into the chestnut purée to loosen. Now gently fold in the whipped cream, and then the rest of the beaten egg whites.

Assembly

Place the meringue shells or shell onto a baking tray or trays that will fit in your fridge. Spoon the filling into the shells, and using the back of the spoon shape into mounds in the centre of the shells. Place the icing sugar into a clean metal flour sifter, and sift all over the filled meringue shells. Place in the fridge until ready to be served, but no longer than 45 minutes.

Alternatively (ie: ideally!), before sitting down to dinner with your guests, place the individual meringue shells on dessert plates (lined with paper doilies if you wish). Have a small bunch of fresh mint sprigs, as well as fresh berries or tiny flowers, washed, dried, and ready for use.

Just before serving dessert to your guests (as you’re preparing tea and coffee or someone is pouring a dessert or sparkling wine), quickly spoon some cold chestnut mousse into each shell and decorate as suggested above or as you  wish.

Enjoy!

4 Responses to “Chestnut Mousse Meringues”

  1. Julien says:

    Ça peut avoir l’air gras, mais c’est vraiment léger! Très bon et délicat. Super photo Marie!

    Julien

    • Bonjour Julien! Merci :-> C’est vrai que c’était un régal pour le palais autant que pour les yeux, mais que c’était léger. C’était le dessert idéale après ce repas succulent mais plutôt riche d’oeufs bénédictine!

  2. hsfaith says:

    This looks so wonderful. Since we are beginning to have nice weather, I think I shall plan a luncheon around this delightful dessert!
    Love your site!!!

    • Hi Hellen! Thank you so much for your message – I’m so happy to see you here!

      Since I have your attention, I hope you’ll share a few of your favourite recipes with me :-> Mom tells me you’re a fabulous cook!

      Big hugs and kisses from Montreal xxx

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