On probably every French dessert menu you'll see, Iles Flottantes are bound to feature. And it's no wonder either, considering how good they are. You can even buy these little beauties in supermarchés they're so well-loved. "But what are they?" I hear you ask. Well basically, they're soft meringues floating on custard. I know what you're thinking: what a strange combination, but once you've tried them, you'll be embarrassed you ever had a negative word to say about them. Everyone likes meringues and everyone likes custard (you're not my friend if you don't), so everyone is guaranteed to like these. 'Floating islands' - what a lovely image. It sounds quite exotic doesn't it? But surprisingly they were very easy to make. The French recipe gave me a chance to brush up on my baking vocabulary too! Now custard has the tendency to not behave itself when you try and make it, but mine was quite a success and tasted just delicious. And the meringues. Wow. They were light and fluffy and well, just perfect actually. Please give these a go. They look so impressive, but really they're ridiculously easy...trust me. The only thing that would have finished them off nicely would have been a drizzle of caramel sauce. As I will definitely be making these again though, I'm not too distraught!
Iles Flottantes makes 4 servings
For the crème anglaise (a.k.a. custard):
1tsp Vanilla Essence
3 Egg Yolks
For the meringues:
3 Egg Whites
1 Pinch Salt
- Heat the milk in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the vanilla essence.
- Once it has flavoured the milk remove from the heat.
- In a bowl, mix the egg yolks together.
- Add the sugar and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
- Gradually, add the milk to the egg mixture and mix well.
- Transfer the mixture to a clean pan and leave it to simmer gently for 5 minutes, constantly stirring, until it starts to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. Be careful not to let it boil, otherwise it will spearate.
- For the meringues, whisk the egg whites with the salt until firm.
- Little at a time, add the sugar whilst constantly whisking.
- To cook, boil some water in a pan and put a tablespoon of the meringue into the simmering water for 30 seconds on each side.
- Repeat with all of the meringue mixture.
- Divide the crème anglaise between 4 small bowls and place the meringues on top.