The original version of Montebianco, that literally means White Mountain, and you can easily understand why, has just two main ingredients: chestnut puree and whipped cream. Sugary, delicious and easy to make.
This cake is a delicious tradition in many northern Italian kitchens, and it probably originated in France where is called Montblanc.
Growing up, I always had Montebianco at special family dinners or during the holidays, and you could find it in some restaurants. Today, however, it’s quite rare to find it in anywhere but the home, likely because it’s so sweet and also because the process of cleaning and cooking the chestnuts is a bit arduous and boring.
The Montebianco Original Recipe
The original Montebianco was made with boiled chestnuts, peeled and finely chopped. You can 500 g fresh chestnuts (400 g dry chestnuts) for potatoes, and boil chestnuts in milk with 100 g of sugar until soft.
I developed this recipe due to a lucky coincidence. We were looking for a quick recipe for Montebianco when we thought Why can’t we use sweet potatoes so similar in taste to chestnuts? This is not only a very quick recipe, but it’s less sweet than the actual Montebianco recipe.
My version is inspired by the original, but with a couple of twists: overall, it’s nowhere near as sweet! I switch out the chestnuts with a sweet potato puree (ready in the oven in just 30 minutes).
The outcome is a delicious dessert, with no added sugar and, once the sweet potatoes have cooled down, ready in about an hour.
Happy Festive Cuisine, Monica
Traditional decoration of Montebianco are beautiful, little and sweet candied violets.
If you’re making homemade whipped cream, put your whisks in the freezer for about 5 minutes and the cream in the refrigerator.
Flavor whipping cream with vanilla extract
requires: piping bag, sifter, and serving plate
sweet potatoes with white flesh, about 500g
unsweetened cocoa powder, 30g
panna liquida (cream), circa 300g
½ tsp natural vanilla extract
confectioners sugar, 100g
dark chocolate chips to garnish
Bake potatoes with their skin in preheated oven (180C degrees for about 25-30 minutes).
To cool down, remove the skins and pass them through a ricer to puree.
Place the sweet potatoes in the center of a large dish in the form of a tall crown.
Using a small colander, cover the crown with a thin layer of unsweetened cocoa powder. Put the whipped cream in a pastry bag and cover the crown, starting from the base. Garnish with small chips of dark chocolate or with sugar decorations such as violette di zucchero.