In Italian that's Venerdi.
So that makes it time for Venerdi Foodie, or as we all know it, Foodie Friday!
Yay! Our favorite day of the week!
Come join us at Designs by Gollum for Michael's fabulous party- your taste buds will thank you.
We wanted to do a special dessert this week, but as I mentioned yesterday I haven't been home much and it's been pretty hectic. Then I thought about a dessert that I've made many times over the years and ALWAYS get requests for when I'm catering a dinner party.
A dessert that went through a period of popularity back when I was a child- many a genteel lady served this at her elegant dinner parties or ladies' luncheons. It never fails to impress and the best part is that most of the components can be made a day in advance.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the French "L'Iles Flottantes"- better known in America as
A lovely vanilla infused Creme Anglaise upon which floats a mound of light as air Meringue topped with a drizzle of Caramel and, in my version, a drizzle of Raspberry Coulis. The top is then sprinkled with crumbled Praline.
This is a showstopper dessert- light and perfect after any meal from Chateau Briand to Carolina Barbecue! :)
** TIP- If you want to take a tropical meal right over the top, float a scoop of mango sorbet alongside the meringue- trust me on this- worth EVERY extra calorie
The custard, caramel, praline, and the coulis (which is optional, but highly recommended) can all be made the day before. The meringues should be made within a couple of hours of serving.
To make a day in advance, leave the caramel and praline at room temperature and refrigerate the creme anglaise and the coulis.
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 cup water, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
8 extra large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 3/4 cups scalded milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 vanilla bean- split and seeds scraped out
1 1/2 teaspoons cognac
To Serve: Raspberry Coulis in a squirt bottle
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
FOR THE CARAMEL: Heat 1 1/2 cup of the sugar and 1/2 cup of the water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Cook over medium heat until the syrup turns a warm caramel color. Don't stir, just swirl it in the pan. Turn off the heat, add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 teaspoons of the vanilla; be careful, the syrup will bubble up hard. Stir gently with a whisk constantly and cook over high heat until the caramel reaches 230 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. Set aside.
PRALINE: Combine the almonds with 1/4 cup of the caramel and spread them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 12 minutes, until the almonds are lightly browned. Allow to cool at room temperature and then break up in pieces. Lower the oven to 250°F Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
MERINGUES: Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy. Turn the mixer on high speed and add the remaining 1 cup of sugar. Beat until the egg whites are very stiff and glossy.Whisk in the remaining teaspoon of vanilla. With dessert spoons place 12 mounds of meringue on parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes, or until just barely coloring and a cake tester comes out clean.
CREME ANGLAISE: Beat the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch. With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the eggs. Pour the custard mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thickened. The custard will coat the spoon like heavy cream. Don't cook it above 180F or the eggs will scramble! Pour the sauce through a fine strainer, add the vanilla extract, Cognac, and vanilla seeds, if using, and chill. Pour creme anglaise on the bottom of individual plates. Place a meringue on top of each serving, drizzle with caramel sauce and raspberry coulis if using (trust me- use it!), sprinkle with praline, and serve.
Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,
Pattie and Allie