Have you ever wondered despite of having eaten more than enough we can always find some room for dessert? Sometimes we end up ordering a whole slice of cake when all we wanted was to savor one little bite of it! But we just couldn’t help it, and dinner wouldn’t be the same without it. It is desserts take us back to our childhood memories probably more than any other course.
Today Rometti wants to explore a traditional dessert from the French cuisine that, even if you’ve never had it before, its simple and popular ingredients that we hope will in fact take you back to those childhood memories.
The French have a wide array of desserts, from the popular creme brulee to the apple tart tatin, without forgetting crepes, cookies, creams, flans, ganaches.. Our choice was not easy this week, but we decided to dedicate our blog to the Ile Flottante which we had the chance to taste a few weeks ago while in France at the restaurant Le Boeuf A La Mode (Versailles) which we nicely recommend.
The Ile Flottante, or Floating Island, which looks like a cake is actually nothing less than a light meringue made of egg whites and sugar and dipped into a custard sauce such as the Creme Anglaise. Ile Flottante is a delicious, dreamy, airy dessert that melts in your mouth, but don’t be fooled, its preparation requires precision!
for the meringue:
9 large egg whites, room temperature (reserve 4 yolks for making creme anglaise)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
for the Creme Anglaise:
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Preheat the oven at 375 F and brush a Bundt pan with oil.
Start making the meringue with bringing a kettle of water to a boil. In the meantime whisk egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in a mixer at medium speed until soft. Add very slowly some superfine sugar and while doing that increase the speed to high. Beat for about 3-4 minutes until stiff. Reduce the speed to low and whisk in some vanilla.
Put the meringue into pan and smooth it with a small spatula to remove air pockets. Set the Bundt pan in a roasting pan to put into the oven. Add about 2 inches of boiling water into the roasting pan so not to burn the meringue. Bake for about 20 minutes until puffed and lightly browned. Transfer the Bundt pan to a wire rack and let it cool.
For the Creme Anglaise: combine milk and cream in a saucepan. Scrape vanilla seeds into pan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, salt (only a pinch). While whisking pour the milk mixture into the yolk mixture. Put the whole mixture back into the pan. Cook about 5 minutes at medium heat without stopping stirring. When the mixture is very thick strain through a fine sleeve into a bowl. Press a plastic wrap on the top of the creme and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Unmold the meringue onto a cake plate. Cut in slices and top each slice with the creme anglaise to make the Ile Flottante. Serve cold!
Note: you can add a caramel sauce or a fruit sauce to it, as well as you can decorate it with dry fruit or almonds.