This past Saturday, my neighbourhood hosted a street party that was too good not to share with you. The event was called Marche Nocturne, and was inspired by communal feasts held in certain regions of France. After months of planning, over 250 people gathered at one long table to celebrate the sense of community that we are so lucky to have in our neighbourhood. The festivities honoured a dear family friend who passed away this year of pancreatic cancer, and whose incredible neighbourly spirit was the inspiration for the event.
Guests brought with them salads and desserts, and roast pig was served to those who wished it. A silent auction, as well as private donations raised nearly $17,000 for Pancreatic Cancer Canada.
Almost as spectacular as the fundraising efforts, was the sight of everyone gathered at one long table (complete with red gingham table cloth), in their “summer whites”. Food and drink was passed between strangers and friends alike; it goes to show that gathering for a communal meal brings people together in a rare and inspiring way. Whether your table holds four of four hundred, it is a place where great things can happen.
These photos don’t do the event justice, but here is a glimpse at our first annual Marche Nocturne.
These delicious cupcakes are an adaptation of one of my favourite summer desserts. You can customize them with your favourite go-to recipes, or save time with pre-made ingredients. Either way, they look, and taste impressive. Give them a go for your next summer gathering! You’ll need:
Combine 5 large egg whites with 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of lemon extract (optional) in a large, heatproof bowl. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water, and whisk for 3-5 minutes until sugar has disolved, and whites are frothy. Remove from heat, and beat on high for 6-8 minutes until stiff, glossy peaks form. This should be used immediately.
To assemble your cupcakes, remove about a teaspoon of cake from the centre of your cupcake using an apple corer, or a knife. Be careful not to cut all the way to the bottom of the cake, or else your filling will fall through.
Place your chilled filling (or store bought curd) into a zipper bag or piping bag. Snip off the end, and pipe about a tablespoon of filling into each cupcake. Don’t worry if the filling spills over the hole slightly.
Once your cupcakes are filled, prepare your boiled meringue icing. Ice your cupcakes generously, finishing with a swirl. Place your iced cupcakes under the broiler for a minute or two, until they are nice and golden brown. If you have a torch, you can use this to toast your meringue.
Keep your cupcakes in a cool dry place until you’re ready to serve them so that the meringue doesn’t sweat. You can thank me now that you have an excuse to throw that garden party you’ve been thinking about. Happy baking!