I started off wanting to make a Banoffee cheesecake but I can be a bit funny about bananas. I’ll only eat them when they’re slightly under-ripe you see, when they’re still a touch green at the ends. The moment a single brown spot appears on […]
If you follow any of my social media accounts then you probably know that I went on a little trip to Lille in France a few weeks ago. Lille has some fantastic restaurants (my main motivation for going) and it’s also home to these little pillows of loveliness.
Merveilleux are meringues with a very thin crisp, almost caramelised shell and soft, cloud like interior. They’re covered in whipped cream and given a crunchy coating. I didn’t think that I was going to like them at first because I don’t actually have a particularly sweet tooth but the cream balances the sweetness of the meringue perfectly. They really are quite delicious.
We bought ours from Merveilleux de Fred, where people queue out the door to get them and they come in lots of different flavours with names like ‘Incroyable’ and ‘Impensable’. Mr Colonial Cravings has christened my version ‘formidable’!
They are a little tricky to coat because the meringue is so fragile but once the cream is on they should be fine, no one expects you to be as skilled as these ladies on your first attempt (I really wasn’t!).
1 egg white
the weight of the egg white in sugar
the weight of the egg white in icing sugar
250ml double cream
1 tsp espresso powder
2-3 tsp of sugar (or to taste)
pinch of cinnamon
about 15 speculoos biscuits (crushed)
Pre-heat your oven to 170°c and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Whip the egg white until it holds stiff peaks. Add half of the sugar and whisk again. Repeat this with the rest of the sugar and the icing sugar and continue to whip the mixture until it smooth, stiff and glossy.
Transfer the meringue to a piping bag with a large round tip (or just snip the end off a disposable one) and pipe six flat discs of meringue on the prepared baking sheet. Now pipe six little mounds of meringue, slightly narrower in diameter than the discs.
Bake the meringues for about 35 minutes, they should become quite golden and almost caramelised on the outside. Once they’re cooked take them out of the oven and leave them on the tray to cool.
Combine the cream with the sugar, coffee and cinnamon in a large bowl and whip until fluffy. Be careful not to over whip it though. Spread the crushed biscuits onto a large plate or a baking tray. Now you’re all set to assemble the merveillieux.
Be careful when handling the meringues, they’ll be much more fragile than traditional ones.
Add a dollop of cream to each of your meringue disc and then sit one of the mounds on top. Gently coat each of these stacks in the cream and then roll them in the biscuit crumbs, patting them in a little to make sure that they are well covered. Chill in the fridge so that they can firm up a little bit before serving.
Doesn’t this just look like the perfect refreshing treat for a sunny day? Rich creamy cheesecake flavoured ice cream muddled with a tangy swirl of zesty lemon curd and studded with crunchy nuggets of biscuit. Who could resist diving straight into the tub? You can […]
It appears that cheesecake isn’t quite indulgent enough for me, I’ve had to top it with rich chocolate ganache and cute little mini eggs too.
I’ve wanted to do a recipe on here using mini eggs but I’ve always struggled to find a brand that doesn’t use palm oil. I do try to avoid buying products that use palm oil as much as possible, which isn’t always easy. I also struggled to find biscuits for the base which were palm oil free too but I got there in the end and now I get to enjoy these lovely little Easter treats.
As usual when making cheesecakes, ensure that all your ingredients are room temperature before you start, use a water bath to bake them in and let them cool in the oven with the door open before chilling. This should ensure you have crack-free creamy cheesecakes!
125g crushed digestive biscuits
40g melted butter
400g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla paste
85 ml double cream
85g chocolate (I prefer dark but use milk if you like)
Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin wrappers or use silicone ones if you have them (they tend to be a bit sturdier.)
Mix the biscuit crumbs with the melted butter and divide this equally between the muffin wrappers, pressing it down well and place it in the fridge to chill and set whilst you make the filling. Pre heat the oven to 170°c .
Beat the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until it’s nice and soft and smooth. Add the sugar and beat again so that it is well blended. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
Top the biscuit bases with this mixture and give the tin a bit of a tap to smooth off the surface and get rid of the air bubbles. Place the muffin tin in a larger tin (a roasting tin works well) filled with warm water to create a bain-marie. Bake the mini cheesecakes for 25 minutes. They should still have a little wobble to them once they’re cooked. Open the door a jar and get rid of the bain-marie but leave the tin in there to cool. Once they are room temperature you can put them in the fridge to chill which will enable you to take them out of the wrappers before decorating.
Warm the cream until it is quite hot, but don’t let it boil and pour this over the chopped chocolate. Let it sit for a few minutes to melt the chocolate and then give it a good stir to ensure that it’s well blended. Put this in the fridge to chill too and thicken to piping consistency.
Once everything as chilled enough peel the wrappers from the cheesecake and put the ganache into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe the ganache on top of the cheesecakes to resemble a bird’s nest and then top them with a few mini eggs. Leave the cheesecakes in the fridge to chill until you are ready to serve them.
These are flavours which are just made to go together. They’re fragrant and exotic and generally a delicious combination. Cardamom is one of my favourite spices.
I do love a no-churn ice cream recipe too, they’re always so quick and easy to whip up (no pun intended). There’s usually a tub of some flavour or another stashed in my freezer in case of dessert ’emergencies’. And yes, a dessert emergency is totally a thing!
150g, drained tinned apricots (in juice not syrup)
1 tbsp honey
1/2-1 tsp ground cardamom (depending on your own taste but remember that the flavour will dull with freezing)
25g toasted shelled pistachios (roughly chopped)
300ml double cream
175g condensed milk
Blend the drained apricots and the honey to leave you with a smooth puree.
Whip together the cream, condensed milk and cardamom until the mixture holds soft peaks.
Fold the chopped pistachios into the cream and then gently ripple through the apricot puree. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer proof tub and freeze until solid.