A simple but delicious dessert, this has become one of my signature dishes. If you can’t find pink praline, then chopped shelled pistachio nuts also make a delicious addition and an attractive decoration.
Whip the egg whites with one-third of the sugar until they stand in soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining sugar, whipping constantly, until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold in the crushed pralines.
Shape this meringue mixture into 4–6 ‘islands’. I use pastry cutters as moulds to give them their regular shape, but they are just as attractive when more irregular and island-like. Gently poach them in the warmed milk for the custard. You will need to turn them from time to time to ensure that all the egg whites cook uniformly.
When cooked they become dry and firm. Take them out of the milk and set aside. If you chill them when cool, they keep their shape better and also shrink away from any mould, making them easier to get out.
Make the custard: whip the egg yolks and sugar with the scraped vanilla pod and seeds until the mix is pale in colour. Pour over the poaching milk and return to the pan. Cook until the custard coats the back of a spoon. Leave to get cold. Chill.
To serve, add the cooked meringues to the custard and sprinkle with more crushed pink praline.
© 2008 Anthony Demetre. All rights reserved.