Saffron Floating Island

(4 servings)

Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 10 min
Total time: 20 min

For once, I decided to not be just behind the camera, but also to cook! I got a craving for one of my favorite French desserts: “îles flottantes” (or “floating island”). Since the theme of this month’s cuisine is Morocco, I consulted Chef Nitant, and added a few ingredients to make this typical French dessert more exotic! Hope you’ll enjoy it!

Ingredients:

For the custard:

  • 12 oz milk
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tbsp of vanilla extract)
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75g brown sugar

For the “islands”:

  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 40g powder sugar

For garnish:

  • Crushed pistachios
  • Honey, agave nectar, or warm caramel
  • Pinch of saffron

Method:

For the custard:

Add milk, vanilla extract and saffron to a saucepan, and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from heat.

Whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl. Gradually whisk in warm milk mixture.

Add to saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 5 minutes. Do not boil as it curdles the milk.

Strain custard into small bowl. Cover and chill until cold.

For the “islands”:

Bring water to simmer over medium heat in a large saucepan. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in large bowl. Gradually add sugar, beating until whites are stiff.

Scoop some meringue (about twice the size of an egg) onto large oval spoon. Using another large spoon and gently transferring meringue from spoon to spoon, shape meringue into smooth oval. Drop oval into the water. Quickly shape 2 or 3 more meringues, dropping each into water.

Simmer meringues 30 seconds. Using spatula, turn meringues over in water. Simmer 30 seconds minute longer (meringues will puff up while poaching). Using slotted spoon, transfer meringues to towel (meringues will deflate slightly as they cool).

Transfer meringues to a plate or bowl. Cover and chill until cold.

Plating:

Spoon some custard into a bowl. Arrange one or two islands.
(Optional) Pour warm caramel, honey or agave nectar on the islands. Sprinkle crushed pistachios and saffron.

Bon appétit!

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