Les Merveilleux aka “Cloudy Cakes”

Les Merveilleux Recipe

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.

Les Merveilleux Recipe

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.

Les Merveilleux Recipe

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.

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Les Merveilleux Recipe

Les Merveilleux Recipe

Les Merveilleux aka “Cloudy Cakes”

Yield: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 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.

Instructions

    For the Meringues:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 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.
  7. To Decorate:
  8. 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.
  9. Spoon a large dollop of cream onto the top of a meringue disc, and place another on top to form a sandwich.
  10. 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).
  11. Cover the whipped cream covered meringues in sprinkles by sprinkling or spooning them on the cream.
  12. Serve immediately.
http://www.madewithpink.com/2015/07/les-merveilleux-recipe/

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.

Les Merveilleux Recipe

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

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Fairy Bread – It’s not just for parties, plus July Breakfast Club

Fairy Bread

The past few weeks in the UK have been so incredibly hot it’s been borderline unbearable. We’re talking sleep in your underwear with the fans on kinda weather. We’ve been enjoying early morning and evening walks while it’s still cool enough to be comfortable outside.

I love this time of year.  I’ve really begun to embrace the ‘Great British Summer’ and the traditions that go alongside it. Last weekend it was too hot to sleep.  The sun started streaming into our bedroom window shortly after 4am, and after laying in bed for over an hour without falling back asleep I decided it was time to get up. Yeah. On a weekend.

Normally I try and make something something a bit different for breakfast on the weekends, but I was feeling particularly lazy so wanted something simple. No waffles, pancakes, or french toast in sight.  Instead I charged myself up with a couple of Nespresso shots and wandered down to our local M&S in search of some breakfast inspiration.

I ended up leaving with a bunch of peonies and a loaf of brioche.

When I got back home everyone was up, and my son was asking for something ‘special’ for breakfast. Anything that’s not cereal is something special for him, so I didn’t feel a whole lot of pressure to impress my 3 year old with something fancy.

I took inspiration from my instagram account and some of the Australian accounts I follow, and whipped up some classic Australian fairy bread using the loaf of brioche I picked up earlier.

I’d never heard of fairy bread until a year or so ago when I stumbled across it on instragram. It’s essentially buttered white bread covered in sprinkles, and it’s delicious!

As far as I’m aware of fairy bread isn’t something we eat in Canada (if it is, I was severely ripped off as a child). Apparently it’s traditionally served at kids parties in Australia, as well as the UK (I think?).  I figured with the weekend ahead of us, and not having to go to to work was cause enough for a fairy bread celebration. In addition to the traditional buttery version, I also opted to make a few slices with Nutella as well which were my favourite.

Fairy Bread

Fairy Bread

 

Fairy Bread

Ingredients

  • Sliced White Bread or Brioche
  • Butter
  • Nutella
  • Sprinkles (100's & 1000's)

Instructions

  1. Slather an even coating of butter or Nutella over a slice of brioche or white bread.
  2. Shake on an even coating of sprinkles so that they stick to the Nutella or butter covered surface.
  3. Enjoy!
http://www.madewithpink.com/2015/07/fairy-bread-its-not-just-for-parties/

Obviously this isn’t something you’d eat every morning (or every week for that matter), but every once in a while it’s ok for a special treat – or breakfast. My son loved his breakfast treat, and luckily for me it was nice and warm so he was able to eat it outside so I didn’t end up with a kitchen floor covered in minuscule round sprinkle balls.

Fairy Bread

I’m linking my fairy bread up to Breakfast Club hosted by myself this month.  Breakfast Club was started by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours, and now co-hosted by myself and Sarah at Maison Cupcake.

Please publish your new post linking to the current host’s (Andrea Made With Pink) monthly announcement post, and the co- host’s blog (which this month is Sarah Maison Cupcake). If you mention either of us on Twitter (@Made_With_Pink and @MaisonCupcake) with the #BreakfastClub hashtag, we’ll try to RT as many entries as we can.

Don’t forget to include the below Breakfast Club badge in your post as well!

BreakfastClub_badge0230

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Waffles with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Waffles with Strawberries & Whipped Cream

We’ve been going strawberry mad in our house lately.  Between harvesting our own from the garden and regular visits to the local pick your own farm, we’ve got a lot of strawberries to use up.

These waffles with strawberries and whipped cream are probably my favourite breakfast of all time. Mum used make them for special occasions like birthdays and when our friends came to the house for sleepovers.

Last month I made some healthy sugar free & gluten free lemon poppyseed waffles with fresh strawberry sauce, but there’s just something about waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream that makes everything right in the world. The warmth of the fluffy waffles topped with cool silky clouds of whipped cream, topped off with sweet syrupy strawberries = a whole lotta AMAZING in your mouth.

Mum used my grandmas special waffle maker. I have no idea what brand it was, but it’ll be a vintage piece now that’s for sure. The main thing I remember about it was that the waffles were nice and square, and they weren’t super thick like a lot of the waffle makers make nowadays.

Strawberry Basket

The waffle maker I’ve had for years has been temperamental recently, so I was pleased to be invited along to an event with George Foreman Grills where I could test out their new Evolve Grill. I know what you’re thinking – what does a George Foreman Grill have to do with waffles? That’s what I thought too when I first received the invite, but then I realised that the George Foreman Evolve Grill was different than other grills. Why?

It can make waffles!  AND brownies!

The Evolve Grill has interchangeable plates that allow the grill to do triple duty. The grill plates are ceramic coated which has proved to be a breeze to clean after the cooking is done. In addition, there are interchangeable waffle plates, and a deeper pan that’s suitable for a variety of things including omlets, pizza, and brownies. During the event we tested out the grill and deep dish plates, by making seared sesame tuna & pesto and beetroot pizza. Both were amazing, and I was impressed with how well the Evolve Grill performed.

George Foreman Evolve Grill

Shortly after the event I was sent my very own Evolve Grill, along with a set of interchangeable waffle plates. I couldn’t wait to try them out. I didn’t have mum’s waffle recipe on hand, so I opted to try out Maison Cupcake’s Gluten Free Belgian Waffle recipe that she shared in last month’s Breakfast Club linky.

Waffles with Strawberries and whipped cream

Waffles with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

Yield: 8

Recipe slightly adapted from Maison Cupcake

Ingredients

    For the Strawberries and Whipped Cream
  • 250g Strawberries, washed and sliced
  • 2-3 Tbsp Castor Sugar
  • 300ml Double Cream
  • 2-3 Tbsp Icing Sugar
  • 1tsp Vanilla
  • For the Waffles
  • 2 Eggs
  • 300ml Whole Milk
  • 80g Butter, melted
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 270g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
  • 45g Caster Sugar

Instructions

    For the Strawberries and Whipped Cream
  1. Toss the sliced strawberries and 2-3 tablespoons of castor sugar into a bowl, and stir lightly to coat the berries in sugar. Set aside in the fridge for at lest half an hour so the strawberry syrup can develop.
  2. In a medium bow, place the double cream, 2-3 tablespoons of icing sugar and vanilla, and whip until medium soft peaks form. Set aside.
  3. For the Waffles
  4. Preheat your waffle maker (220ºC if using the Evolve Grill).
  5. Combine the the eggs, milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract into a medium bowl, and set aside.
  6. In a sepearate bowl, sift the gluten free flour and caster sugar.
  7. Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients while string constantly until most of the lumps are incorporated.
  8. Pour the batter onto the waffle maker, making sure not to overfill. Cook until golden brown according to the directions of your waffle maker.
  9. Serve with your fresh whipped cream and strawberries.
http://www.madewithpink.com/2015/06/waffles-with-strawberries-and-whipped-cream/

I like to consider these waffles breakfast, but they’ll easily double as a fantastic dessert.

Waffles with Strawberries and whipped cream

So what did I think of the George Foreman Evolve Grill?

Pros: I love the fact that this grill has interchangeable plates. The fact that they’re removable makes them sooo much easier to clean, and the ceramic coating on the main grill plates means nothing sticks. Although I’ve yet to try baking brownies in it, the deep dish pan cooked my pizza surprisingly well. The waffle plates make larger waffles than most other square waffle makers on the market, so I feel these are the perfect size. Normally I would have forced myself to eat two square waffles, but with the evolve I’m quite happy to stick to one, as one Evolve waffle equals about 1.5 regular square waffles.

The fact that I could have this grill sitting on my counter top and cook 3 different ways in it is really appealing, especially since I lack storage space so the more uses I can get out of an appliance, the better.

I also liked the digital display screen and timing feature on the Evolve. My previous George Foreman grills didn’t have this feature, and I do find it really handy – especially during pre-heating.

Cons:  The grill is on the large side, so if you’re counter top is small or cluttered it may be hard to find space for the Evolve in your kitchen. Compared to my other waffle maker, the Evolve takes considerably longer to cook my waffles to a nice golden brown colour, which also means you’ll get a crispier waffle.

Would I buy it?  Yes, probably. If I was in the market for another electric grill, the Evolve would be near the top of my list because of the removable & interchangeable plates because they make clean up so much easier – they’re dishwasher safe too!  At £149.99 the evolve certainly isn’t the cheapest grill on the market, so you’ll need to decide if the extra features & plates are worth it for you.

With thanks to George Foreman Grills for hosting the Evolve event, and providing me with the new Evolve grill.

And because this is a breakfast post, I’m submitting my waffles with strawberries and whipped cream to the Breakfast Club, this month hosted by Sarah over at Maison Cupcake, and co-hosted by myself.

BreakfastClub_badge0230

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Summertime Strawberry Pie

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Nothing signals the start of summer like British strawberry season.  Perfectly ripe and juicy berries line the store shelves, and seasonal strawberry desserts replace the heavier cakes and crumbles that have featured on dessert menus throughout the winter months.

Strawberries are my absolute favourite summer berry, with raspberries following a close second. When I was pregnant I would eat entire meals consisting only of strawberries. I couldn’t get enough of them, and now my kid can’t either. Leave him alone with a punnet of strawberries and they’ll be gone in a matter of minutes.

Fresh strawberries

We’ve been growing strawberries in our garden this year, and they’re fantastically delicious.  Unfortunately they only ripen 3 at a time which is hardly enough to put on a bowl of corn flakes, let alone make up the bulk of a shareable dessert. Luckily I was able to supplement my own crop by making a trip out to Garsons Farm – a local produce farm where we could pick our own strawberries. Even though the shops are filled with strawberries at the moment, picking your own is so much better. Not only can you choose the ripest, reddest, juiciest strawberries, but it’ll occupy a 3 year old for over an hour! What more could I ask for?

Strawberry Pie

We left the farm with a huge basket filled to the brim of strawberries that were just screaming to be made into a pie.  Strawberry pie used to be my favourite when I was a kid. Chilled fresh strawberries in a sweet jelly topped with sweetened whipped cream. It’s so refreshing on a summery day.

I hadn’t had a strawberry pie in years, so I couldn’t wait to get home and make one with my pickings. This pie is super duper easy to make. In fact, the hardest part about it is waiting for the pie to set in the fridge overnight.

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Pie Recipe

This recipe is my mom’s from Canada, so uses powdered Strawberry Jello brand jelly for the base.  We don’t have powdered Jello in the UK, but we do have Hartley’s Jelly cubes which I find don’t gel as firmly as the Jello brand.  So if you’re in the UK, I’d  recommend increasing the jelly cubes to 1.5 packages.

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup (225g) Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Quart Strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Pkg Strawberry Jello,or 1 1/2 Pkg Hartley's Strawberry Jelly
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Baked 9” pie crust, homemade or store-bought

Instructions

  1. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.
  2. Mash 1 cup of the berries; add enough water to make 2 cups and stir into the cornstarch and sugar mixture.
  3. Cook and stir until boiling. Boil 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add butter, Jello powder (or cubes) and lemon juice. Stir until the Jello powder dissolves. Chill until partially set.
  5. Spoon 1/3 of the jello mixture into pie shell. Top with the remaining berries, and spoon the remaining jello mixture over the berries.
  6. Chill until set. Serve with fresh sweetened whipped cream.
http://www.madewithpink.com/2015/06/strawberry-pie-recipe/

Strawberry Pie

If you find yourself with an abundance of strawberries this summer, here are a few more recipes ideas to help you use them up.

Strawberry Pie recipes

Strawberry & Coconut Milkshake
Pimm’s Salad
Chocolate Pomegranate Cake with Lemon Curd and Strawberries
Strawberry mascarpone tarts
Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwich
Strawberry Granola Frozen Yoghurt Bites
Strawberry Tiramisu

I’m submitting my strawberry pie to a couple of foodie blogger linkups this month as well.

Simple and in season

Recipe Clippings

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Breakfast Club May Roundup

Last month marked the re-launch of Breakfast Club – the monthly linkup event originally started by Helen of Fuss Free Flavours which I now co-host with Sarah from Maison Cupcake. The great thing about Breakfast Club is that there’s no monthly theme to stick to, so you won’t be forced to blog about a full English, if you’re really craving eggs benny.

We had some fabulous entries in May which had me wishing there were more weekends in a month so I could try to make them all myself. Check them all out below if you need some inspiration for this month’s Breakfast Club, hosted by Sarah from Maison Cupcake.

May Breakfast Club Entries

May1_1

1.  Rhubarb Curd by Claire at Foodie Quine
2.  Sugar Free Almond & Sultana Breakfast Oatmeal by Margot at Coffee and Vanilla
3.  Shakshuka with Chickpeas by Sus at Rough Measures
4.  Drop Scones (Scotch Pancakes) by Coriander Queen

May2

5.  Vegan Berry Smoothie by Cotton Cloth Eco
6.  Gluten Free Belgian Waffles by Sarah at Maison Cupcake

May3

7.  Huevos Rancheros by Megan at Got To Be Gourmet
8.  Belvita Breakfast Yoghurt Parfaits by In The Playroom
9.  Chocolate Covered Alpin Swiss Muesli Bars by Elizabeth at Elizabeth’s Kitchen
10. Sugar Free & Gluten Free Lemon Poppyseed Waffles by Andrea at Made With Pink

The June edition of Breakfast Club is currently being hosted by Sarah over at Maison Cupcake. We’d love to see your breakfast recipes from this month!

 

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