Floating Island

Floating Island.  Sounds like a name of a beautiful dreamy novel, but for those who don’t know, it’s not. It’s the name of a delicious French pud –  Iles Flottantes!

It’s simplicity at it’s finest.  Perfect for a family meal, or penny-pinching dinner party dessert.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs separated
  • 300g icing sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 400ml milk
  • 80g caster sugar

For the praline (optional)

  • 75g caster sugar
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 25ml water

Method

  1. To make the crème anglaise.  Bring the milk to the boil with the vanilla essence.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the egg yolks and caster sugar together in a bowl.
  3. As soon as the milk begins to boil turn down the heat and pour in the eggy-sugar mixture, slowly, whisking continuously.  Do not let the custard simmer at any point or it will split.
  4. After 5 minutes it will begin to thicken slightly and become the consistency of single cream (it will thicken more when it cools down)
  5. Transfer to a bowl and chill in the fridge.
  6. To make the meringue islands, pour the egg whites, icing sugar and salt into a clean glass or metal bowl.
  7. Whisk until the meringue forms stiff peaks when the whisk is removed.
  8. Bring a large, shallow  bowl of water to the boil.  Using two spoons, shape the meringue into mini-quenelles and poach.  They are cooked when they are slightly puffed up and just set.
  9. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a sheet of baking paper until ready to serve.

To make the optional praline

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Put the sugar and water into a large pan, heat gently until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to high.  Do not stir!
  3. When the mixture starts to bubble, add the almonds and continue to cook for five minutes, but now stirring continuously to prevent the almonds sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.
  4. Once the sugar and nuts have become a dark golden-brown caramel colour, pour onto the prepared tray and spread as thinly as possible with a palette knife (be quick as it sets fast). Set aside to cool.

To serve

When ready to serve, pour a ladleful of crème anglaise into a serving dish or glass, gently place a meringue or two in the centre and garnish with some small pieces of praline sprinkled on top.  Enjoy.

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