Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ile Flottante

Fancy French names for desserts!  Well, this one I fell in love with during a recent trip to France and its coastal region.  I fell in love with it because it was such a light and yet satisfying dessert, and its components were very obvious and easy to make.  It is a great way to finish a meal without needing to leave room or make room in the stomach.

This one came from the Laduree Sucre book, but in there, it is called Oeuf a la Neige, or Egg in the Snow.  The instructions in there asks you to use a spoon and form quenelles (eggs shape) with the meringue.  Too much effort for Meow.

Ile Flottante (Floating Island)
Custard sauce, soft meringue, caramel drizzle

250 mL of whole milk
250 mL of heavy cream
100 g of sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp of vanilla extract

2 egg whites (60 g)
30 grams of castor sugar
splash of lemon juice (optional)

1/4 cup of sugar
1/8 cup of water

An appropriate size of meringue

1. Whisk the egg whites in a grease-free bowl.

2. Splash a bit of lemon juice into the egg white to help it whip up.

3. Slowly pour in the castor sugar while whisking to incorporate it.

4. Whisk until firm, glossy peaks

5. Using a spoon or spatula, form a mound of meringue on a plate.  You can even use a piping bag to make nicer shapes.

6. Use a brulee torch and lightly brown the mound of meringue you have just formed.  This step is optional, but I've found that the meringue holds its shape much better when you cook it in the milk.

7. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla extract and gently heat it.  Do not let it boil or simmer.

8. Using a spatula dipped in milk, gently put the meringue into the pot of warm milk/cream and cook each side for about 2 minutes.  It will expand a little, but not too much.

9. Once done, transfer the meringue to a plate to rest.

10. When all the meringue has been cooked.  Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and fluffy.

11. Pour the hot milk/cream that you used to cook the meringue into the egg yolk mixture and stir thoroughly.  You may not use up all the milk/cream, just add enough so that the custard is liquidy and has a good balance of milk and yolk flavour.  The yolk flavour should not be over powering.

12. Divide the custard evenly into bowls, enough for the meringues to float on it.  About 2 cm deep.

13.  Gently transfer the rested meringue with a creamed spatula onto the custard to float.

14. In a very small sauce pan, add sugar and a bit of water and heat on medium heat.

15. Stir the sugar and water so that it is well combined and let it gently boil until golden brown.

16. Once golden brown, remove from heat immediately and drizzle onto the meringue.

17. Place the dessert in the refrigerator to chill, at least an hour.

Yield: 3-4 desserts

The top one has some good drizzling going on :D

Clear bowls give a nice visual of the float

Mr. Meow says I've finally nailed this one as previous attempts I either had the custard too thick, no vanilla so too eggy, or too thin and no egg flavour.  The meringues held together much better due to the skin that was formed from the torching.  Previously, it would expand and flatten out (heat of the cream also played a factor).  I have also baked the meringue before, but cooking it in the cream made it so much more velvety.  Good jorb, Meow!

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