It’s time again for another Tuesdays with Dorie , and I’m starting to feel rather warm and nostalgic now towards my ‘recent’ acquisition. Although the sheer volume of Baking: From My Home to Yours is intimidating (over 400 pages!), the style of writing, and step by step directions make each recipe approachable and almost effortless. This time around the assignment at hand was a classic French Dessert called Île Flottante, that’s Floating Islands to us Anglais-philes 🙂
This recipe is one I had never heard of before this challenge, so I really felt a bit adrift at first (get it? adrift? *drumroll* :D) but it seemed simple enough. I’ve made meringues and I’ve made custard, and floating islands are basically a combination of the two. The simplicity of this dish, where the sum of the components creates a whole that is greater than each of its parts, also goes a long way towards making it a household staple.
According to Dorie:
For the French, this dessert is not only a classic, but often a childhood touchstone. In a country where people are more likely to buy their desserts from a neighbourhood patisserie than prepare them at home, îles flottantes remains a mainstay in the make-at-home repertoire, in some part because it is so easy and in some part because it’s a naturally showy dessert.
Excerpted from Baking: From My Home to Yours 
From beginning to end I found this recipe particularly easy to follow. Make sure that your milk is simmering rather rapidly, otherwise the meringues will not expand (see below) and set on the outside as well as they should. I learnt this with the first two ‘islands’ that I tried.
My favourite part of making this recipe was drizzling the caramel. I quickly realized that by holding my fork in the air for an extra second or two, my caramel would begin to harden and I’d essentially be spinning sugar! As this was something I had only seen done on television, I got quite giddy. Within seconds I was twisting, twirling and looping away, and I think the results were rather attractive if I do say so myself 🙂 Jason quickly tried to jump in on the action, drizzling onto his own islands with careful deliberation (see right). As the caramel strands set they created a delicious crunchy counterfoil to the airy ‘nothingness’ of the meringues and the creamy egginess of the custard. Definitely a delightful dessert, and one that Jason has already told me several times, I -must- make again 🙂
P.S: For the recipe, visit Shari of Whisk: A Food Blog , who picked Floating Islands as this week’s challenge.