The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Japanese bakery-ing and graaaaains

Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc, pre-digested

The first time I heard the words "Mont Blanc" was probably in reference to the pen company.

What does that have to do with food? NOTHING! From now on, Mont Blanc shall immediately equate to creamy Japanese cakes with chestnut puree. Screw writing implements! And ginormous mountains in western Europe! I tried looking up information about the origins of this dessert, but couldn't find much besides that it is "the name of an Italian cake, with cream and meringue" [via wikipedia]. However, I've mainly seen it in Japanese bakeries and possibly French. Italian? I'll have to dig deeper on that one.

Most Mont Blancs I've seen are in the similar Cousin It-style of noodly chestnut puree strands encapsulating something's that's surely tasty. What exactly? A mystery of sugar coma-inducing proportions? I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I cut into the cake with the skills of someone who should never perform surgery, unless that person works in "The Hospital of Gruesome Death".

Mont Blanc innaaards
Mont Blanc viscera

Behold: cream, cake, and more cream! While taking a food-break at Cafe Zaiya, I tried to "forced" half of the cake upon my bakery hopping-cohort, Carol, but she felt that it was too sweet after a few bites. Too sweet? Carol, I'm aghast! Horrified! Shocked! Etcetera! Actually, I wasn't; I suppose most people have normal tastebuds. Then there are pleople like me, who lack the "stop eating all that sugar" sensor, possibly destroyed by a yeast army. I honestly didn't think the cake was too sweet. However, I did think it was just right, which probably means that it's too sweet for most people. Do I overestimate my sugar tolerance or are my friends sugar-wusses?

Oh, do you want me to wax poetic about this cake? Um. ...I really liked it. What do you want me to say? "My ecstatic mouth reveled in a torrent of luscious chesnut as my tastebuds tingled in creamy rapture." Huh wuh? Nah, I just forked the stuff into my mouth, chewed it to swallow-able consistency, and thought, "Damn, this is good." Mont Blanc goes on my list of "various baked goods I really really like"

Hunting around flickr, I found various photos of Mont Blancs: Japanese style, pumpkin, light-colored, sugar-dusted, Fauchon, and the motherload. Enjoy. :)

sweet potato pie
sweet potato pie

Even though I had planned on just getting the Monc Blanc, this miniature sweet potato pie was too cute to pass up. Also, I'm a pig; what do you expect? This was the most sweet potato essence I've ever seen in a pie since it was basically a hunk of unadultered sweet potato wrapped in pastry dough. While I would've prefered that the potato were sweetened in some way (yes, I'm aware that it's called a "sweet" potato, but like many things, it could benefit from an outside source of sweetness), it was a nice alternative to other sweet potato pies I've seen made of pureed potato and whatnot.

And that was my dinner on Wednesday night. Basically. I mean, in addition to all the grain-based stuffings and salads we made in my Advanced Foods class.

grain salad with rye berries
rye berry salad

My partner and I had never eaten rye berries before, but they're very tasty if you like chewy grains. We mixed the rye with chopped sauteed fennel, onion, shallot, mushroom, and carrot and tossed it with a dressing my partner made out of soy sauce, rice vinegar, lemon juice, ginger, sugar, and possibly other things. Despite not having a clear plan in mind (our assignment was to improvise our recipes, resulting in me saying, "So, what are we making?" 10 times throughout class), our food tasted good! Yes! Victory!

stuffed squash
stuffed squash

For the stuffed squash, we used long grain rice (with some wild rice mixed in), dried cranberries, garlic, scallions, toasted hazelnuts and almonds, olive oil, salt, and pepper. It was pretty random as to how much of each ingredient we put in, perhaps a handful of the dry ones, and seasoning to taste with the others. If you like those ingredients, you'd like this stuffing. And if you're allergic to nuts...well, that sucks. I kept snacking on it before we actually stuffed the squash. Actually, I was probably full before we presented all our food, snacking on rye berries and rice.

Carbs and fiber are yummy.


Nerissa / November 12, 2005 1:21 PM

You know, I didn't even feel hungry until I stopped on your food blog. My mouth really began to water when I saw that Mount Blanc. I've never seen such a sweet. It wasn't until I was in France when I discovered just how much I LOOOOOVE chesnut puree. It's excellent in a mousse. I SO want to find this now when i travel to civilization in a month.

Andrea / January 30, 2006 12:47 PM

Actually, Mont Blanc is a traditionally Swiss dessert, and chestnut puree is a Swiss product. Italy and Switzerland are next-door neighbors and they share mountains, so there is probably some dispute about this - but both Switzerland and Northern Italy use a great deal of chestnuts in their desserts.

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