First it was cupcakes, then whoopie pies, followed by macarons and eclairs. Bite sized cake & pastry trends have been continuously changing over the past few years since I’ve been blogging. And it looks like the next big thing in single serving sweet treats are artisan donuts. I see them popping up everywhere in specialty bakeries across London, and on the covers of books that line the shelves of book shops. But there’s a new(ish) dessert alternative on the market.
Originating in Belgium and France, the merveilleux is a simple, yet ultra delectable little bite of heaven. Layers of mini meringues sandwhiched with fluffy whipped cream and covered with even more whipped cream, and then coated in either chocolate shavings, crystallised meringue bits, caramelised hazelnuts, coconut and more.
I’d only recently discovered the mervielleux (from a magazine I think), and thought I’d have to wait until our annual trip to Paris to taste one, but a quick google search led me to Aux Merveilleux which at the time had one location (now two) in London.
Aux Merveilleux sells 6 flavours of merveilleux. Because they’re made with fresh whipped cream the staff at Aux Merveilleux make them in front of you while you wait. I watched their technique carefully so I knew what I had to do to re-create them myself.
I ordered three merveilleux to take home with me, and was pleasantly surprised at how well they survived the rush hour train journey home. The cream on a merveilleux is closer in consistency to whipped double cream, which is especially important to note if your in the US where double cream isn’t available. Double cream has a higher fat content than regular whipping cream which results in it being much more stable once whipped. If you’re in the US or Canada you’ll want to add a stabilising product like Dr. Oetker ‘Whip It’ to ensure your cream won’t fall flat and melt away.
Delicate cream aside, the merveilleux really are easy to make. But because there’s no outer shell or anything firm to hold onto, you’ll need to ensure you handle them very gently so they don’t get squished.
These little cakes are so delicate, light and fluffy they’re like biting into a cloud. My son has even nick named them ‘Cloudy Cakes’ which is a heck of a lot easier to say than Les Merveilleux!
Once again, I used the Meringue Girls recipe to make my mini meringues. It’s my ‘go to’ recipe, and fail proof.
Les Merveilleux Recipe
- 150g egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites)
- 300g castor sugar (must be double the weight of egg whites)
- 600ml whipped double cream
- Dr. Oetker 'Whip It' (optional, but recommended if using whipping cream)
- 3-4 Tbsp icing sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Chocolate sprinkles, crushed nuts, etc to decorate.
- Line a shallow baking dish with parchment paper, pour in the sugar and bake for about 5 minutes at 200°C (400°F) until the edges just begin to melt.
- Meanwhile, pour the egg whites into the bowl of your stand mixer (make sure it’s clean & grease free). Using the whisk attachment, whisk on low speed allowing bubbles to form, increase to high and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Egg whites should be stiff enough that you can turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out.
- Remove the sugar from the oven and begin whisking again at high speed. Add the sugar to the egg whites one big spoonful at a time. Once all the sugar is added, continue to whisk for 5 – 7 minutes, or until all the sugar is dissolved. You should be able to rub the mixture between your fingers and not feel any grit from the sugar, and it forms a smooth shiny peak on the tip of your finger.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 100°C (200°F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and trace four 6 inch circles on the paper (two on each paper). Place a dab of meringue on the bottom corners the parchment, and press down so the paper sticks to the pan.
- Spoon the meringue mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a wide round nozzle. Pipe the meringue mixture evenly to form small meringue discs, no larger than 3 inches wide.
- 6. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the meringue discs can easily be lifted off the parchment paper with their bases in tact. Let cool completely. The meringues discs can easily be stored in an airtight container will keep for up to two weeks.
- In a medium bowl, combine the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla, and whip until soft peaks form. If using 'Whip It', follow the directions on the package.
- Spoon a large dollop of cream onto the top of a meringue disc, and place another on top to form a sandwich.
- Using an offset spatula, cover the sides of top of the meringue & cream sandwich with a layer of the whipped cream (you don't need to cover the bottom).
- Cover the whipped cream covered meringues in sprinkles by sprinkling or spooning them on the cream.
- Serve immediately.
Any remaining merveilleux can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for a day or two, but the crispness of the meringues inside will begin to diminish.
If you like meringue based desserts as much as I do, here are a few more to try:
My own Dulce de Leche & Chocolate Mini Egg Pavlova | Chestnut Cream Meringue Cake by Tin & Thyme | Bakewell Mess by Emily’s Recipes & Reviews | Rhubarb & Ginger Pavlova by Foodie Quine | Icy Lemon Meringue Surprise by the Crafty Larder | Toffee Pavlova with Cappuccino Cream Cloud by Fuss Free Flavours | Summer Fruits Pavlova by Kerry Cooks | Hazelnut Meringue 3 Berry Ice-Cream Sandwich by Family Friends Food | Chocolate Strawberry Pavlova by Emily’s Kitchen Diary