4 mins

3 Alpine-inspired cheese recipes (plus Mont Blanc tart for dessert)

We've selected three creatively delicious cheese recipes from the new Alpine Cooking recipe book, plus get the full recipe for the Mont Blanc tart featured in Wanderlust magazine...

Mont Blanc Tart recipe from the new cookbook Alpine Cooking (Ten Speed Press)

Alpine-inspired fondue

Serves four

(© Christina Holmes)

(© Christina Holmes)

Ingredients

  • Fondue set with burner and fuel 

  • One garlic clove

  • One and a 1⁄2 cups (360ml) dry white wine, such as Chablis or dry Riesling

  • One teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • One tablespoon cornstarch

  • Three tablespoons kirsch

  • Two cups (230g) grated Emmental cheese

  • Two cups (230g) grated Gruyère cheese

  • Freshly ground white pepper

  • Freshly grated nutmeg

  • Sweet paprika

  • Day-old French bread or country loaf, cut into one-inch cubes, or apple slices for serving, plus some cornichon pickles 

Method

Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the garlic. With the caquelon over stove-top medium heat, warm the wine with the lemon juice. 

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk the cornstarch and kirsch until smooth. 

Gradually add both cheeses to the pot, stirring continuously in a figure-eight motion. When the mixture begins to bubble, stir in the kirsch-cornstarch paste. Continue to cook for another three to five minutes, and season with a little white pepper, nutmeg, and paprika. 

Should your melted cheese begin to separate, increase the heat and whisk or stir the mixture quickly to bring it together again. 

Carefully light the flame on your fondue set, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Turn off the stove-top heat and carefully transfer the pot to your fondue set. 

Serve the fondue with bread cubes or sliced apples, cornichon pickles, and pickled onions. 

Herdsman Macaroni & Cheese recipe

Serves four

(© Christina Holmes)

(© Christina Holmes)

Ingredients

  • One pound (450g) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed 

  • Nine ounces (250g) dried macaroni or penne 

  • Two tablespoons unsalted butter 

  • Two yellow onions, diced 

  • Five ounces (140g) thick-sliced bacon, cut into lardons
     
  • 1⁄4 cup (60ml) white wine 

  • Two cups (480ml) low-sodium vegetable broth 

  • One cup (240ml) heavy cream 

  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

  • One tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley 

  • 1⁄2 cup (50g) grated Berner Hobelkäse cheese (If you can’t find Berner Hobelkäse, you can substitute any aged cow’s-milk cheese, such as réserve Gruyère or Emmental Switzerland Premier Cru)

  • Applesauce for serving 

Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes, stir, and boil for three minutes before adding the pasta, then cook together until the potatoes are just tender and the pasta is firmly al dente, three to four minutes. Drain and set aside. 

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the onions and bacon and cook until the onions become translucent and the bacon has rendered its fat, five to seven minutes. Pour in the white wine, stirring to loosen any caramelised onion or bacon bits. Turn the heat to high and simmer the wine until slightly reduced, about one minute. Add in the vegetable broth and cream, followed by the potatoes and pasta. 

Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the minced parsley. 

Divide the pasta-potato mixture into individual ramekins or transfer to an ovenproof serving dish, then sprinkle with the grated cheese and broil until nicely browned, about three minutes, keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings. 

Serve with applesauce on the side. 

How to make perfect raclette

Serves four

(© Christina Holmes)

(© Christina Holmes)

Ingredients

  • Raclette maker 

  • Eight new potatoes 

  • One and a half pounds (680g) raclette cheese, cut into 1⁄8-inch (three mm) thick slices 

  • One small jar cornichons pickles 

  • One small jar pickled onions 

  • Eight ounces (225g) Bündnerfleisch or viande des Grisons, cut in paper-thin slices 

  • Freshly ground black pepper 

Method

Scrub the potatoes (do not peel), put them in a pot, and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, boil until tender (test with a sharp knife), for about 20 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the rind from the cheese. Arrange the pickles, onions, and meat on a platter and set aside. Preheat the raclette grill.

Each guest should then help themselves to a slice of cheese and melt it in their individual grilling tray. It takes approximately two minutes to melt to a creamy consistency, or three minutes for a crispier top.

Hold the pan on its side to scrape the cheese onto your plate, using your wooden spatula, and season with pepper. Keep everything warm on the grill top.

& the Mont Blanc tart recipe

Serves six

(© Christina Holmes)

(© Christina Holmes)

Mont Blanc the dessert, with its finely piped sky-high chestnut cream on a bed of meringue, is perhaps more easily recognisable than the mountain itself.

Alpine pastry wizard Paolo Griffa from the Petit Royal restaurant in Courmayeur showed me how to make his version.

This dessert - a feat of engineering! - may look ambitious, but it is totally possible for the home cook. Here's the recipe...

Ingredients

  • Two-inch  ring mould or cookie cutter 

  • Three-inch ring moulld or cookie cutter 

  • Six and a half-inch by 3⁄4-inch perforated tart rings 

  • Disposable piping bags 

  • 1⁄6-inch (four mm) plain piping tip 

  • 3⁄8-inch (one cm) plain piping tip 

  • Mont-Blanc (multi-opening) piping tip 

  • Pizza wheel (optional) 

  • Ruler 

  • Offset spatula 

For the chestnut cream:

  • One cup (240ml) heavy cream 

  • One cup (240g) mascarpone 

  • Five egg yolks 

  • 1⁄4 cup (50g) granulated sugar 

  • 14 ounces (400g) chestnut purée 

  • Two and a half sheets of leaf gelatin 

For the meringue caps:

  • Four egg whites, at room temperature 

  • Pinch of fine sea salt 

  • One cup (200g) granulated sugar 

For the pastry shells:

  • 3⁄4 cup plus one tablespoon (100g) all-purpose flour 

  • Scant 1⁄2 cup (50g) confectioners’ sugar 

  • 1⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt 

  • 1⁄2 vanilla bean, split and seeded 

  • Seven tablespoons (100g) cold unsalted butter, diced 

  • One egg yolk 

For the marscapone cream:

  • 1⁄2 cup (120ml) heavy cream

  • 1⁄2 cup (120g) mascarpone, at room temperature

  • 51⁄4 ounces (150g) chestnut purée

  • 1⁄2 vanilla bean, split and seeded

  • Eight ounces (220g) chestnut purée

  • Six whole candied chestnuts (marrons glacés)

  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Method

To make the chestnut cream: The day before you want to serve the tart, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream and mascarpone and warm, stirring frequently, until just below the boiling point.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and granulated sugar. When the cream mixture is just about to boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and, whisking constantly, slowly add 1⁄2 cup (120ml) of the hot liquid to the yolk-sugar mixture, until smooth. 

Return the egg-cream mixture to the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking nonstop, until the custard begins to thicken, four to five minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chestnut purée. 

Submerge the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes. Squeeze the excess water from the softened gelatin and whisk the gelatin into the chestnut mixture.

Let cool to room temperature—stirring from time to time to stop a skin from forming, or laying plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate overnight. 

To make the meringue caps: Preheat the oven to 200°F (95°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then mark the paper with 12 two-inch (five cm) circles, using a ring mould as your guide. 

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, at medium-low speed, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the salt, increase the speed to medium, and continue to whip until the egg whites form soft peaks—they should have the consistency of shaving cream.

Add the granulated sugar one-third at a time and then beat at medium speed for one minute more. Increase the speed to medium-high, whisking until long stiff peaks form when you lift the whisk.

Transfer this meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1⁄6-inch (four mm) plain tip and pipe as many two-inch (five cm) rounds as you can onto the prepared baking sheet—once cooked, you’ll be picking the nicest six meringues.

Bake until meringue is firm to the touch, for one-and-a-half to two hours (if the meringues start to colour during baking, lower the heat). Transfer the meringues to a rack and let cool completely.

To make the pastry shells: Sift the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt into a large bowl. Add the vanilla bean seeds. Add the butter and rub the mixture in with your fingertips until it resembles fine bread crumbs.

Add the egg yolk and, using a spatula, stir it into the mixture until a firm dough forms (you may need to add a splash of cold water if the dough feels crumbly). Knead the dough briefly and gently on a floured surface. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1⁄8 inch (three mm). Using a sharp knife or a pizza wheel and a ruler, cut six strips each measuring about 3⁄4 by 81⁄2 inches (two by 21cm).

Arrange each strip around the inside of the perforated tart rings, applying gentle pressure where the dough overlaps to secure the seal. Place each lined ring onto the prepared baking sheet.

Recipes taken from Alpine Cooking by Meredith Erickson, which is published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.

Visit Penguin Random House for more info, or get your copy on Amazon now...

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