Ile flottante, or floating island dessert, is a classic French dessert - a light and airy floating meringue with creme Anglaise. It is made in less than an hour, plus there is a make-ahead option.
For creme Anglaise:
For the meringue:
For the decoration:
* If needed, please refer to Baking Conversion Charts.
To make creme Anglaise, heat milk, heavy cream, scraped vanilla seeds, and the emptied vanilla bean in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
In a separate bowl, mix egg yolks and sugar with a hand whisk. Add the hot milk and cream mixture, stirring constantly, and pour back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, constantly stirring with the whisk. It takes a few minutes when the custard starts thickening, coats the back of a spoon, and reaches a temperature of 180°F (82°C): use a candy thermometer.
Take the saucepan out of the heat and pour the vanilla sauce into a clean bowl. Remove the empty vanilla bean from the custard and cover it with plastic film in contact. Let it cool down on the counter or in the refrigerator until 73°F (23°C).
To make the meringue, preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Beat egg whites with an electric mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment at low speed until frothy. Gradually add sugar, increase the speed, and whisk the meringue at medium speed until sugar dissolves and stiff peaks form. It may take up to 10 minutes. Add crushed pink praline with lemon zest to the whipped egg whites and gently mix with a rubber spatula.
Place one large tablespoon of the meringue on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Continue with the rest of the whites (you will get 6 meringue mounds). Bake for about 5 minutes and let cool afterward.
To serve, pour creme Anglaise on the bottom of the martini glasses or glass bowls and place the meringue on top of each serving. Sprinkle with chopped pink praline and serve.
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