Merveilleux au chocolat

merveilleux&magnolia19“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:
when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Not long ago, the magnolias have started to bloom everywhere in the city. I miss mine back home in our garden in Munich, that´s why I was particularly impatient so see their season start here. To me, they´re the most beautiful trees of all, pretty cheerleaders of spring, though in fact it can be chilly enough they still sell vin chaud (mulled wine) at the jardin des tuileries. Which makes it even more incredible how the those trees can find the energy to explode with blossoms while the rest of nature remains more or less in hibernal sleep. Something so beautiful just has to make you happy, and it made me even happier to think of something else, more precisely a dessert named merveilleux – it means wonderful in French.

magnolia-2Based on a meringue (sometimes a sandwich of two meringues), cream and chocolate, this is one of my favorite treats both to make and to eat. You can give it any touch you want, depending on what you have on hand. Here I made an extra large merveilleux with chocolate, chestnut cream, and mascarpone, and served it like a cake. So easy, and so, well, merveilleux!

merveilleux chocolat & chestnut mascarpone cream

Merveilleux chocolate with chestnut mascarpone cream (serves 4-6):
3 large egg whites
150 g extra fine sugar or confectioner´s sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
a few drops vanilla essence
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
200 g full fat cream (refrigerated)
125 g mascarpone
3 generous tbsp sweetened chestnut cream, I used Faugier (if you don´t get chestnut cream, just add a bit of Amaretto or sweeten the mascarpone with confectioner´s sugar)
20 g dark chocolate for decoration

magnoliatuileriesLine a 20-22 cm/8-9 inch round baking mould with a sheet of parchment paper. Preheat oven 160°C/320°F.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites (they should be at room temperature) with electric whisks at highest speed, adding sugar bit by bit, until stiff peaks form. This takes about 10 minutes. Towards the end, add the cornstarch and vanilla essence. When ready, gently fold in the cocoa powder with a spatula, creating nice swirls.

Spread meringue on the parchment paper. Bake for 45-50 minutes. The meringue should be easy to remove from the parchment paper, then it´s ready. Leave to cool.

Whisk cold cream with mascarpone until firm, sweeten with chestnut cream as desired. Spread on the meringue base with the help of a large spoon or spatula. Decorate with grated chocolate.


merveilleux chocolat & chestnut mascarpone cream-2

Mit das Schönste am Frühling gibt es gleich zu Anfang: die Magnolienblüte. Sie hat hier schon Anfang März begonnen – in und um Paris sind die Bäume, die Natur überhaupt, ein paar Wochen früher dran, als ich es von Bayern her kannte. Im Jardin des tuileries wird zwar noch Glühwein verkauft, denn es weht mitunter eine ziemlich kühle Brise, doch die Pracht der Magnolien wirkt wie ein rosaweißes Zuckerl, das das Warten auf warme Tage versüßt.

magnolia-12Angesichts von soviel Schönheit liegt es nicht besonders fern, an eine Nachspeise zu denken, die den Namen Merveilleux, “wundervoll”, trägt. Sie besteht aus einer Meringue, oft auch einem Sandwich aus zwei Meringuen, Sahne(creme) und Schokolade. Natürlich läßt sich darin auch alles andere unterbringen, wonach einem gerade ist – ein weiterer Grund, warum ich dieses Dessert so gerne backe und esse.

Merveilleux  (Riesenbaiser mit Schokolade & Maronen-Mascarponesahne , für 4-6):
3  große Eiweiß
150 g extrafeiner oder Puderzucker
1 TL Maisstärke
einige Trp. Vanilleessenz
2 TL umgesüßtes Kakaopulver
200 g gekühlte Sahne
125 g Mascarpone
3 großzügige EL gezuckerte Maronencreme, z.B. von Faugier (alternativ die Creme einfach mit etwas Amaretto versetzen und mit (Puder-)Zucker süßen)
20 g dunkle Schokoladen zum Darüberbreiten

Eine runde Backform von 20-22 cm mit Backpapier auslegen und den Ofen auf 160°C vorheizen.

In der Küchenmaschine oder einer großen Schüssel die zimmerwarmen Eiweiße auf höchster Stufe aufschlagen, dabei den Zucker löffelweise hinzufügen, gegen Ende auch die Maisstärke und die Vanilleessenz. Es dauert in etwa 10 Minuten, bis sich standfeste “Gipfel” bilden und die Masse seidig glänzt.  Dann den Kakao mit einem Spatel behutsam so unterheben,  daß sich dunkle “Streifen” im Eischnee ergeben (d.h. er braucht nicht gleichmäßig verteilt sein).

Die Meringue aufs Backpapier geben und ca. 45-50 Minuten backen. Sie ist fertig, wenn der Boden sich vom Backpapier abziehen läßt. Abkühlen lassen.

Sahne und Mascarpone mit den Rührgerät/der Küchenmaschine zu einer festen Creme aufschlagen, mit Maronencreme bow. Amaretto und Zucker abschmecken. Auf der Meringue verteilen (dabei einen Rand unbedeckt lassen) und mit geriebener Schokolade bestreuen.




  1. Magnolias & meringues, a truly merveilleux post Sabine and very, very tempting. There is always chestnut puree in my larder, so you are filling my Easter feast table nicely this year.
    N xx


  2. Chocolate and chestnuts; a match made in heaven 🙂 We have a dessert Down Under named after the dancer Pavlova. It was what I used to bring out after offering my guest a Chinese banquet. It’s a meringue topped with fresh whipped cream, strawberries and passionfruit.


  3. What a beautiful dessert to match the beauty of the magnolias. It looks like a meringue or a Pavlova, which was actually one of the first things I’ve ever baked, but I love that you do it here with chestnuts and chocolate. So decadent, yet still light–not unlike the weather where opposites seem to live in tandem. Lovely as always. I hope you’re well. xo


    1. Yes, it´s something like a Pavlova, but minus the fruit this time. How cool it was one of the first thing´s you´ve ever baked, it took me years to actually make meringue. I guess I stepped back from the decadence of using so many eggs for just one dessert. But fun, and worth every calorie ( not that I count them ;-))


  4. oh le magnolia parisien est en fleurs!!!! merci pour les deux: les fleurs et le merveilleux car TOUT ça est merveilleux, sabine! 🙂
    hier, j’ai pris des photos de mon jardin ( que j’ai mises sur mon blog 😉 ) mais mon magnolia est encore en bouton!
    alors comme souvent, je te dis un grand merci, sabine car ton article est superbe de beauté ET de gourmandise (et suis trèèèès gourmande!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have to admit, I never made a meringue. Maybe it is time to make one. Yours looks gorgeous . Sabine , do you have any reccomendation on where to eat in Munich. My niece and I will be there for five days soon. My niece is German and loves Italian food.


    1. Dear Gerlinde, I´m not that good on Italian restaurants, but Acetaia would be a good place if you´re looking for something special but quite pricy too – at least that´s what it was when I last went there a while ago. A lovely rustic French bistro would be M Belleville in Schwabing. Liked it very much and went there a couple of times right before our move. Hope that helps a bit…Wishing you a great time in Munich with your niece!


    2. Gerlinde, I totally forgot the pizzeria Goldoni at Luisenstrasse in Munich. How could I, this was the to go place when Ilived in the neighborhood with my husband a few years ago. Their pizza is delicious, baked in a wooden stove. Small, casual and simple, but according to our Italian friends the best pizza in Munich. How this is still the case!


  6. I too think that magnolias are such a beautiful tree. After a cold winter with bare trees, they are a lovely sight just like your merveilleux. It must be so light and delicious.


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