Merveilleux (marvelous in French) is an incredibly tasty dessert made from meringues, whipped cream and generally chocolate shavings. It is actually really easy to make once you know how to make a French meringue and is quite a forgiving dessert. You can be as messy as you want and you can customize it as you see fit. And people will still gobble it up within seconds!
So without further ado, let’s get straight to it! There are three parts to this recipe:
- The meringue shells
- The chocolate whipped cream
- Assembling the merveilleux: We will prepare the chocolate shavings (or sprinkles etc.) and cover and decorate our little meringue cakes.
Preparing The Meringue For The Merveilleux
- Prepare a French meringue as explained in How to make French meringue cookies.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.
- Pipe dots on the baking sheet to secure the parchment paper in place.
- Then for each individual meringue, start from the center and pipe in a circular motion, as if you were drawing a snail. Try to make all the meringues the same size. If you have trouble with that, you could draw circles around a cookie cutter on the back of the parchment paper to serve as a guide.
- Bake for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours and let the meringues cool down completely.
Chocolate Whipped Cream
- Whip the cold heavy cream to soft peaks. Since we will be incorporating the chocolate later, we shouldn’t mix until stiff peaks form or we might end up overbeating the cream. We talked about this when discussing How to make sweetened whipped cream.
- Refrigerate the cream while gently melting the chocolate in a double boiler (pot placed over a pan of simmering water, without touching the water). You can use the microwave if you’d like and heat in 20 second increments. You can stop just before the chocolate has fully melted, when there are just a few small pieces of chocolate left. Give it a stir. If the chocolate doesn’t melt completely, heat it again for just a few more seconds. It’s important not to overheat the chocolate.
- When the chocolate cools down to 45-50°C (113-122°F), add a little bit of whipped cream to the chocolate to lighten it.
- Add the chocolate mixture to the whipped cream and gently fold it in, being careful not to deflate the whipped cream.
The temperature of the chocolate
To get a perfectly smooth texture, you should pay very close attention to the temperature of the chocolate before adding it to the whipped cream. If it is too hot, it will deflate the cream. If it’s too cold, it will solidify and yield a grainy texture (see picture).
The chocolate should be at 45-50°C (115-120°F), or slightly warm to the touch.
Assembling The Merveilleux
This is the most fun part of the process. You can decorate however you like, and be as messy as you like!
Prepare the chocolate shavings
A merveilleux is normally covered in chocolate shavings: white, dark, milk. Pastry chefs will temper the chocolate, spread it out and scrape it to make chocolate curls. But let’s be honest, it’s not the simplest thing to do! So instead, pick whichever chocolate you like and simply use a vegetable peeler to make shavings. You can use a knife if you want prettier, larger shavings. If the chocolate is too warm, put it in the fridge for a few minutes. If it’s too cold, warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave.
But you don’t necessarily have to use chocolate shavings if you don’t want. You could also use sprinkles for example, or whatever else you’d like.
Coat the meringues
- Fit a piping bag with the desired tip and fill with whipped cream (in the pictures below I was using vanilla mascarpone whipped cream). You could use a spatula and a spoon if you’d rather not pipe.
- Pipe (or spoon) whipped cream on a meringue shell (baked and cooled). I used about 1 tablespoon.
- Cover with a second meringue shell and press gently. Try to use one of the same size.
- Pipe cream on the sides of the meringues and spread using an offset spatula. Cover the top of the meringue with more cream.
- Hold the meringue from the bottom and either dip it in the chocolate shavings or apply them with your hand.
Piped shapes on merveilleux
Now this is quite a messy process so let me give you some options if you don’t like it too messy.
- You can pipe the cream on the sides by holding the merveilleux from the top and bottom. Then place the merveilleux on a plate and pipe on the top. Sprinkle the chocolate without touching the merveilleux.
- You can pipe the cream on the sides and spread it (only on the sides). Holding it from the top and bottom (which don’t have cream), roll it in the topping. Place on a plate and then pipe cream on top.
You can refrigerate the merveilleux before serving. But they are really hard to resist and they will probably disappear very quickly. I can’t wait for you to try them out!
In case you missed it, head over to the meringues baking calendar to see what we’ll be learning this month.