floating islands

This week we made schmancy restaurant food over at French Fridays with Dorie. Namely, Floating Islands. Or, as it was called at the schmancy French restaurant where I first tried it, Isles Flotant.

The isles in this recipe are meringue puffs and the sea in which they are flotanting is creme anglaise. Dorie gilds the lily by suggesting various additional topping ideas, everything from ice cream to chocolate sauce. I decided to go with her suggestion for warm caramel sauce, and with that, this week’s recipe turned into THREE!

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First up, creme anglaise. I went into this recipe all excited because I thought that it was new. Turns out, not so new. Turns out, creme anglaise is just unfrozen ice cream. I’ve made that loads of times. Still tasty, but not quite as exciting once I figured out what it was.

Next came the warm caramel sauce. Now I was really in new territory. Luckily this one was easy. Just swirl everything around in the pan and wait until it turns the right color. Not just that, but it’s delicious.

And finally, the meringue. I stupidly chose to ignore Dorie’s suggested method of cooking them in the oven and decided to try the traditional method of poaching them in milk. Stupid, stupid, stupid. It took forever because the pan wasn’t big enough to hold more than two puffs at once and the milk kept forming a skin which clung to the puffs. All in all I found it to be an entirely icky process and Dorie’s oven method sounds a lot easier.

The finished and assembled dish, however, easily made up for the ick factor. Heavenly. This is the one to pull out when you’re trying to impress.

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13 Responses to floating islands

  1. I never used melted ice cream instead of creme anglaise, quite interesting if the ice cream is good. Your poached islands came out wonderful Rose!

  2. Cher says:

    I almost tried the milk poach method – I never thought about the skin factor…

    Your islands do look good!

  3. I poached mine, too, but didn’t have any skin forming on my milk. Once the milk came to an almost boil, I turned my stove down to just simmer the milk. Sorry you had a problem. They look fantastic and I’m glad you enjoyed them. These were a big hit in my house, too! Totally yummy!

  4. triciaandnana says:

    I am so impressed that you actually poached yours. I am still trying to master poaching eggs and will chicken out (sadly, pun intended:) in favor of baking at any chance. Your results looked amazing and bonus points to you for making all elements from scratch while I opened jars of sauces…..Tricia

  5. Christy says:

    Milk poaching is terrific – I recently did a milk braised pork that turned out so moist and tender I may never try another method.

    This looks so delicious and love how you did everything from scratch!

  6. betsy says:

    Looks impressive, Rose, even if it was three recipes in one.

  7. Cakelaw says:

    I am seriously coveting the caramel sauce! Your plates are also lovely.

  8. After baking the meringue I would never poach it… I kinda ended up liking the uniformity of the islands I was able to make with the pan method. Still, though, too sweet for me.

  9. Yeah, I’ve tried poaching…not so fun…not so attractive. But yours look darn good!

  10. Teresa says:

    Poaching sounds a lot more labour-intensive than the oven method. They do look beautiful, though.

  11. I totally SUCK at poaching eggs… I cannot even imagine poaching delicate meringue puffs. My mother used to make merengón, the tall fluffy meringue cake like Paula’s, and served the creme anglaise on the side sometimes when we had company over. She would worry about the meringue deflating if she took it out of the oven too soon, so I guess each method has its pros and cons.

  12. jora says:

    Very interesting. I had started to regret not trying the poaching method, but the oven sure was easy. Every time I try to heat milk it boils over, so I try to avoid it.

  13. Karen says:

    I really wanted to try this with caramel sauce, but the sauce I had in the fridge didn’t want to drizzle, even though I warmed it up. Yours really does look heavenly!

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