So my fellow AAPI pastry friends (Dara Yu and Jess Wang) and I wanted to challenge ourselves to make a fun holiday dessert using apples, just in time for Thanksgiving. While I have also done a pie collab with my dear friend Sam, in case you are not a pie lover, this recipe is here to offer another Thanksgiving dessert alternative! I have done quite a few apple desserts already (ironically/coincidentally, Dara and Jess went apple picking with me and a bunch of my other friends, so I had a TON of apples in September I actually had to use up there), so needless to say, making dessert out of apple has become as second nature to me as baking with chocolate. I did have to think this recipe through a bit, since I did not want to either repeat an apple recipe I have already made, or worse, do the exact same dessert as Dara or Jess(which is hilariously likely give our collectively shared Californian-Chinese-American upbringings), so I knew I had to do somewhere a little unexpected in the realm of apples, and that was Mont Blanc. Mont Blanc is a French dessert, meaning “white mountain”. The dessert consists of whipped chestnut cream that is piped to look like stringy squiggle worms or spaghetti (they’re described as mountains, but I said what I said), and dusted with meringue and powdered sugar to resemble their namesake. The dessert is usually topped with a chestnut, and sometimes served with other things on the bottom. During my visits to Japan and France, I have been served Mont Blanc that were piped on top of a cookie, a cake, or just served to me in a parfait glass. And while yes, I have made many a Mont Blanc here on this website, I have yet to make an apple one.
For the components, we have an apple-yogurt cake, an apple namelaka(whipped ganache mousse), fresh cream, and fresh apples. The apple-yogurt cake is something I love making with grated apples, because it is as moist as the word moist makes the average human uncomfortable, while it has a tender crumb and a pleasant apple flavor running through it! The brown butter and yogurt really round out the mouthfeel of the cake, while I used whipped egg whites and dark brown sugar to really help with the aeration of the sponge. I am baking my apple cake batter in 4-inch ring molds, but I also listed an option on what to do if you do not have ring molds too. This apple-yogurt cake has been something I’ve been making on and off for about 6 years now, so hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I do! With the mousse, it is a French-Japanese technique called namelaka, which is Japanese for “ultra silky”. It is one of my personal go-to’s in terms of pastry techniques, because you take chocolate, melt it in with cream and gelatin, then mix it with more cream to form this super soft mousse that you can pipe onto anything! In this case, I went with butterscotch chips in place of regular chocolate, although if you have blonde chocolate/dulcey, use that instead! I also replaced a decent portion of my heavy cream with an apple cider reduction, which will then inject even more apple flavor into the namelaka! To dust off the dessert with, we have some confectioner’s sugar, as the components were designed not to be terribly sweet to begin with, so a little sugar won’t hurt!
For the apple-yogurt cake:
1 green apple, peeled and grated
1 stick unsalted butter, browned
3oz Greek yogurt
2 egg whites
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Mix the green apple with brown butter and Greek yogurt and allow that mixture to sit for 10 minutes. In another bowl, whip the egg whites with dark brown sugar, salt, and vanilla to stiff peaks. Sift the flour and baking powder into the apple-yogurt mixture, and fold into that the egg whites to form your batter. Either divide the batter into 8 lined 4-inch ring molds, and bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Alternatively, spread the batter onto a lined sheet tray and bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes, and cut out 8 4-inch rounds. I found that using a glass or cup without a handle works nicely in place of a ring mold for cutting out the cakes with!
For the apple namelaka(mousse):
1 1/2 cups apple cider
2 tsp gelatin powder, mixed with 1 tbsp apple cider
1 cup butterscotch chips or dulcey
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, in two parts
In a pot, reduce the apple cider to roughly 1/2 cup of liquid. After the liquid has been reduced, melt into that the gelatin first, then add to that one part of the cream, the butterscotch chips/dulcey, and the salt. Mix everything together on low heat until everything is dissolved together, then pour the mixture through a sieve into a shallow container. Allow the mixture to refrigerate for 1 hour, until firm to the touch, then whip the mixture in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until soft. Alternatively, cream the set mixture with a rubber spatula. Mix into that the remaining part of the cream, still using either a paddle or a spatula to incorporate everything – the main point here is to avoid using a whisk, since that increases the chances of breaking or overwhipping the mousse. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with ideally a grass tip.
For the fresh cream:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
a pinch of salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a bowl, whip everything together to stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag. Keep cold until time to assemble your mont blancs.
2 green apples
1 tsp lemon juice
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold water
Peel, core, and medium-dice the green apples. Store the apple cubes in a mixture of lemon juice, salt, and cold water.
Place a cube of apple down on top of each cake. Pipe the cream in a dollop on top of each cake, covering the apple cube. Pipe the namelaka mousse around the cream. Top with the cube of apple, and a dusting of the confectioner’s sugar to finish.