Merveilleux

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Hello friends!

Guess what?

It’s officially been a whole year since I started blogging with you all! It has been such a tremendous 12 months of growth, both as a baker and a photographer and a human who sort of follows some semblance of a weekly schedule, but time really does fly. For anyone who has been keeping up, thank you so, so much – you are absolutely wonderful! And for any newcomers, I’m super glad that you’re here, and welcome to a brand new year! Happy birthday, Casually Addicted Desserts!

To kick off year 2, I figured that it is only fitting that we celebrate such a marvelous occasion with something equally marvelous, and what is more marvelous than a merveilleux? It literally means marvelous, which is a pretty accurate epithet for a meringue-and-whipped-cream sandwich covered liberally in chocolate shavings.

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(They’re also just so cute and fluffy.)

In case you’ve never heard of them, merveilleux are really a fairly niche treat that is indigenous to Belgium and Northern France  that have been slowly making their way over to the States. I first stumbled upon them through rave reviews for a cute little café over in DC when I was there over Christmas. I kept seeing pictures of a giant gumdrop shaped concoction that looked absolutely fantastic and scoured the internet to figure out what on Earth they were. And when I finally discovered, much to my chagrin, that the café would be closed for Christmas, I started planning to construct my own version of the treat sometime in the new year. And so here we are!

This version of the merveilleux is a snap to put together. Much like the pavlova (which, incidentally, is another one of my favorites), there are really only two key ingredients involved: meringue and whipped cream. Everything else is really just flavoring and garnish. Only, instead of filling a meringue nest with whipped cream, we’re frosting a double layered meringue cake with whipped cream.

(Actually, now that I think about it, they’re basically inversed versions of one another. Except this one comes without the fresh fruit topping to delude yourself into believing that you’re serving something healthy.)

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And just look at this lovely interior. Actually, on this note, can I just say that cutting perfect cross-sections of anything is a lot harder than the professionals make it look? Especially when we’re working with a crisp meringue cookie on a decidedly not-so-stable layer of fluffy whipped cream, it is not easy to get a clean slice through without smooshing all the bits in between. I ended up waiting a whole day and wiggling in a fork to keep everything together. So word to the wise, if you’re looking for maximum textural contrast, serve your merveilleux right away; if you’re looking for extra ‘grammable bites, hold off until the whipped cream gets the meringue-y innards nice and evenly softened.

In either case, if you’re ever looking for another treat to add to the arsenal of quick and easy desserts (granted, the two hour baking part is a bit of a bummer, but everything else comes together in 20 minutes when you have pre-baked meringue cookies in a jar), or are looking for something unique to celebrate a special occasion (I would have lit a birthday candle, but it was a bit windy outside), look no further and make some marvelous merveilleux! Hope you enjoy!

Happy birthday to us (sort of),
Anne

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Merveilleux

Makes 6 merveilleux

Ingredients:

Meringue Cookies:
1 large egg white
4 1/2 tbs granulated sugar

Raspberry Whipped Cream:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp raspberry extract
3 drops red food coloring

Chocolate Ganache:
1 oz dark chocolate chips
2 tbs heavy cream

To Serve:
2 tbs raspberry jam
1 oz dark chocolate bar, shaved with a vegetable peeler

Directions:

Meringue Cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 F. Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat together the egg white and sugar to firm peaks. At this stage, when you lift out the beakers, you should see peaks that gently curl over at the tip.
  3. Load the whipped meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a large round piping tip (I used the Wilton 1A). Place the piping tip perpendicular to the baking sheet, then squeeze continuously to drop a thick round disc about 2″ in diameter.
  4. Using a wet finger, gently depress the points on each of your piped meringues to smooth out the top surface.
  5. Bake the meringues for about 2 hours, or until the meringues easily detach from the baking sheet and sound hard and hollow when lightly tapped at the bottom. Set aside to cool before assembly!
    Tip: Since they have such a long baking time, these are super easy to make in advance or especially the night before. I like to set a cooking timer on my oven so that it turns off the heat after 2 hours, and just forget about them – at such a low temperature, they’re not at any risk of burning if you leave them in the oven overnight.

Raspberry Whipped Cream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, whip together the cream, sugar, raspberry extract, and food coloring to stiff peaks. At this stage, when you lift out the beaters, you should see sharp peaks that do not curl over. Set aside for assembly!

Chocolate Ganache:

  1. In the microwave, melt together the chocolate and cream in 10 second intervals, stirring in between until the chocolate is fully dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly before assembly!

Assembly:

  1. Place one meringue cookie onto the center of a large plate. Add on a small dollop of raspberry jam, then another small dollop of chocolate ganache, and finally a thick layer of whipped cream on top.
  2. Close off the meringue sandwich by topping the whipped cream with a second meringue cookie.
  3. Using a small spatula, frost the sides and top of the sandwich with a thick layer of whipped cream. Dust the sides of the frosted merveilleux with chocolate shavings. Repeat for the remaining 5 merveilleux, then transfer the merveilleux to individual serving plates with a large metal offset spatula.
    Tip: To add the chocolate shavings, tip the merveilleux plate to sprinkle on the chocolate shavings at an angle. To transfer the merveilleux, brush away most of the excess chocolate shavings, leaving a small ring of chocolate around the merveilleux, then gently wedge the spatula around the bottom edge of the merveilleux until you hit the meringue, working the chocolate shavings underneath the layer of whipped cream around the exterior of the pastry. Then, wedge the spatula underneath the bottom meringue layer and lift all at once to neatly remove the merveilleux from the decorating plate and gently set it back down onto the serving plate.
  4. Load the excess whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large open star tip (I used the Wilton 1M). Pipe a small spiral of whipped cream onto the top of each merveilleux, top with dust from the chocolate shavings, and serve immediately. Bon appetit!

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