ghost town – chestnut ‘montblanc’ tart

ghost town – chestnut ‘montblanc’ tart

The biggest blizzard ever . . . didn’t land in NYC on Monday. In stead, we got a ghost town with just enough snow to briefly cover sidewalks and streets. People tried to get home before subways and busses stopped running. Stores and restaurants closed in the early evening.

By Tuesday morning, there wasn’t enough accumulation to close a kindergarten on a normal winter day. With very few places reopened, the only thing left to do was stay inside and bake all day.

This tart was one of the desserts I wanted to make for the holidays, but because of our busy schedules, I didn’t get to it. The one ingredient that allowed me to make this desert isn’t included in the recipe—a fickle storm that fled NYC early, but overstayed its welcome on Long Island and New England.


Chestnut ‘Montblanc’ Tart


Pâte Sucrée
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (10 ouches) all-purpose flour
  • 16 tablespoons (8 ounces/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, frozen
  • 1/4 cup (1-3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Chestnut Pastry Cream
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) chestnut purée (unsweetened)
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (1-1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into four pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla paste or extract
Chestnut Cream
  • 3/4 cup, chestnut purée (unsweetened)
  • 3/4 cup, chestnut spread (sweetened)
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum
  • Pre-baked Tart Shell
  • Chestnut Pastry Cream
  • Chestnut Cream
  • Marron Glacé (candied chestnuts) (optional)
  • White Chocolate Pearls (optional)


Pâte Sucrée

1. Combine egg, egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl, whisk to combine, set aside.

2. Place flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor, pulse until combined and aerated, about five 1-sec pulses. Add frozen butter and pulse until butter is the size of peas. Add egg mixture until combined. Test the dough by squeezing with your fingers, if it holds, it’s done. (If you let dough come together into a ball, you have over worked the dough).

3. Divided dough onto two large piece of plastic wrap. Gather each dough into a 6-inch disc by pulling up sides of plastic wrap and press lightly with your knuckles. Wrap dough with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold but malleable, about 45 minutes.

Note: you’ll only use one of the two discs, refrigerate 2nd disc (up to 2 days) or freeze (up to 6 months).

4. Roll dough on lightly floured surface into a slightly larger than 16 x 6-inch rectangle (13-inch circle for 9-inch tart pan) and transfer to tart pan. Press dough into corners and sides of pan, being careful not to stretch dough. Trim overhang of dough with small pairing knife. Prick bottom of dough all over with tines of fork. Wrap in plastic and freeze for 20 minutes.

5. Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375℉. Remove tart shell from freezer, line with parchment and filled with pie weights. Bake until tart crust looks dry and lightly colored, about 20 minutes. Remove weights and paper, continue to bake until golden brown, about another 15-20 minutes longer.

6. Transfer tart shell to wire rack, sprinkle white chocolate on the bottom of tart shell, let sit for one minute. Using a small off-set spatula, spread white chocolate evenly. Let cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Chestnut Pastry Cream

1. In a small bowl, add chestnut purée and rum, mash until combined, set aside.

2. Heat half-and-half in medium saucepan over medium heat until just simmering. Meanwhile, whisk yolks, sugars, and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Add flour to yolk mixture and whisk until incorporated. Remove half-and-half from heat and slowly, while whisking, add half-and-half to yolk mixture to temper. Whisking constantly, return tempered yolk mixture to saucepan.

3. Return saucepan to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 5-6 minutes.

4. Increase heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until bubbles burst on surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; whisk in chestnut mixture, butter and vanilla until butter has melted and mixture s homogenized. Strain pastry cream through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Press lightly greased parchment paper directly on surface and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

Chestnut Cream

1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a rubber spatula until smooth. (If you like a sweeter taste, add more chestnut spread, 1 tablespoon at a time). Transfer mixture into a pipping bag fitted with a decorative tip of your choice.


1. Spread an even layer of pastry cream in tart shell with small off-set spatula. Pipe chest cream on top in rows or any pattern you prefer. Decorate with marron glacé and white chocolate pearls (if use). Serve.