These ‘floating islands’ have been popular for hundreds of years, and make a spectacular, and only slightly fiddly dessert to prepare. Don’t stress too much over the meringues; if the traditional method seems daunting, then cook them in the oven instead at 110°C/gas ½ for 5-8 minutes. It’s just as good and will remove any anxiety at the cooker!
To make the custard, warm the milk and sugar in a saucepan. Cut the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds and stir them into the milk. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, and when the milk is almost boiling, pour it into the egg yolks and whisk. Fill a pan big enough to hold the bowl with hot water to a depth of
For the meringue, half fill a wide low-sided pan with water and bring to a gentle simmer. Using an electric whisk, beat the egg whites until stiff, then add the sugar and whisk in until smooth and shiny. Shape the mixture into ‘islands’, using
Take the cling film off the custard. Place the meringue islands on the custard and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Put the sugar into a small non-stick pan and cook over a gentle heat until dissolved and just turned golden-caramel, then drizzle over the meringues.
Traditionally this dish is served cold, but it is also rather delicious warm.
© 2005 Fran Warde. All rights reserved.