Îles Flottantes – Floating Islands – the perfect finish to any rich meal

Preparation time
45 minutes
Resting time
4 hours
Cooking time
30 minutes

Serves
6

 

This dessert should be served cold, which makes it ideal for preparing in advance.  The Praline can be made a couple of weeks before you need it if you can keep it in an air-tight container.  The Crème Anglaise can be made a couple of days ahead.  The Meringue Islands best made on the day of serving.

By Rachel Khoo
From The Little Paris Kitchen: Cooking with Rachel Khoo

Ingredients

For the Crème Anglaise (make this in advance to save time)
  • 4 free-range eggs, yolks only
  • 80g sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
  • 500ml milk
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
    (or ground/grated long pepper from your local Asian supermarket or here)
For the Praline
  • 75g sugar
  • 50g slivered almonds
For the Meringue Islands
  • 2 free-range eggs, whites only (60g)
  • 45g icing sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • couple of drops of lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

Method

MAKE CREME ANGLAISE (CUSTARD)

  1. Put the milk in a saucepan add the the vanilla pod and seeds and pepper and put on to come to a boil
    meanwhile
  2. Mix the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl
  3. When the milk has come to a boil turn it off and remove the vanilla pod
  4. Slowly pour a little of the hot milk onto the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously
  5. Gradually whisk in the rest of the milk
  6. Pour the mix into a clean pan
  7. Place over a gentle heat and whisk constantly – take care not to let the custard simmer at any point or it will split
    After about five minutes it will start to thicken to the consistency of single cream when this happens
  8. Transfer to a bowl and chill in the fridge for at least four hours

MAKE PRALINE

  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper
  2. Put the 75g sugar and 25ml water into a large pan, heat gently until the sugar dissolves and makes a syrup
  3. Then increase the heat to high
  4. When the mixture starts to bubble, add the almonds and continue to cook for five minutes, stirring continuously to prevent the almonds sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning
  5. 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)
  6. Set aside to cool
MAKE MERINGUE ISLANDS
  1. Measure 60g of egg whites
  2. Put half the egg whites into a clean glass or metal bowl
  3. Add the sugar, lemon juice and salt and whisk until snow white
  4. Add the rest of the egg whites and continue whisking until the meringue forms stiff peaks
  5. Boil a large saucepan of water and set to a simmer
  6. Using two spoons form six quinelles of meringue and gently drop each one into the simmering water and cook for a few minutes (turning once) or until they are slightly puffed up and just set
  7. Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto a sheet of baking paper until needed
CONSTRUCT
  1. Ladle the crème anglaise into each of six glasses leaving enough room on top for the meringue
  2. Gently place a meringue in the centre
  3. Break the praline into small pieces and sprinkle on top of the meringue
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