Tuesdays with Dorie: Floating IslandsFebruary 10, 2009 at 2:39 am | Posted in groups, other sweet, puddings, custards, mousses, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 41 Comments
Shari, a loyal TWDer who does cool things with classic dishes on Whisk: a food blog, chose Floating Islands (île flottante), a traditional French dessert, for this week’s recipe. I actually would have called this “snow eggs” (oeufs à la neige), but now I realize I don’t know what the difference is, if there really is one (and Googling it didn’t help, as I found different info on each link…too much information sometimes just confuses me).
This dessert makes me smile; it looks kind of goofy, don’t you think? The basic idea is this: a milk-poached meringue sits in a pool of crème anglaise custard. It’s light from the meringue and, at the same time, rich from the custard…and because it’s served chilled, it’s really quite refreshing.
Rather than quenelling smooth, egg-shaped meringues, I tried to make cute, spiky little islands. Unfortunately, my cute spikes flattened as I turned the meringues during the poaching process, and I ended up with deformed blobs. Whatever…looks aren’t everything. I made my meringues first, and so that I wouldn’t waste the poaching milk, I strained and remeasured it and used it as the basis for the custard sauce.
Traditionally, a drizzle of caramel finishes off floating islands, but because caramel doesn’t keep, and I had to take the blog pictures several hours before I’d be eating the dessert, I chose to skip that bit. I didn’t want my islands to look barren though, so in an effort to spruce them up another way, I decided to infuse my anglaise with orange zest and garnish with a few fresh berries. And since this is an old-school dessert, I went with some old-school baby mint sprigs, just for good measure.