How To Make A Floating Island Dessert

The famous floating island dessert. Known in French cuisine as œufs à la neige (eggs in the snow) and île flottante (floating island), this dish is an example of classic cuisine francaise.  Its simplicity may be deceiving as it takes specific techniques to master both the crème anglaise and the poached meringues. However, when you do the results are nothing short of a miracle. The lightly scalded cream in the crème anglaise gives it a nuttiness that brings the vanilla full circle. Add in the poached meringues, soft as clouds, and a spun caramel decoration and this dessert goes from amazing to absolutely divine. Learn how to make a floating island dessert with our online pastry course teacher in this tutorial.

The floating island dessert of creme Anglaise, poached meringue and spun sugar.
Floating Island Dessert

Crème Anglaise Ingredients
4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Creme Anglaise Preparation
1. Scald the cream, whip the egg yolks and sugar and temper in the warm cream. Return to the stove and scald. Be sure the sauce covers the back of a spoon. Chill.

Meringue Ingredients
4 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk

Meringue Preparation
1. Whip 4 egg whites and ¾ cup of sugar to a medium firm peak.
2. Drop the meringues by scoop in a pot of scalding milk cook on both sides until firm

Sugar Art Preparation
1. Place about 1 cup of granulated sugar in a sauce pot over medium heat. The sugar will start to melt. Stir constantly until all of the sugar is dissolved and is a golden brown color. Let the sugar cool a little until strands appear when poured off a spoon.
2. This can be drizzled on top of the meringues or a grid or cage can be made by lightly oiling the back of a small bowl and drizzling the caramel on the bowl and removing once the caramel had set.

Dessert Assembly
1. To assemble the dessert, pour the creme anglaise into a bowl about 1 inch thick, then place 3 poached meringues on top and garnish with fresh berries and caramelized sugar.

Spun sugar and fresh berries make an elegant garnish for this dessert.

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