Ile flottante

It seems a terrible oversight that I do not yet have an entry for ile flottante, my favourite French nursery dessert. This is ace home cook Louisette’s way of doing it. This is one large island — the spoon-sized blobs of egg white floating in a sea of custard are oeufs à la neige. Ile flottante is easier to get right in my opinion, and certainly more manageable when cooking for a crowd.

Make some caramel and use it to line a charlotte mould (Louisette used loaf-shaped foil moulds for her six large islands).

Separate 8 eggs and use the yolks to make an egg custard, along with 1 litre of milk, 100g of sugar, and a vanilla pod. Whisk the whites till stiff, and whisk in 200g of caster sugar. Pour the egg whites carefully into the mould so you don’t disturb the caramel or let it mingle with the egg whites. Place the mould in a roasting tin half-filled with hot water, and bake in the oven (220 C) for 25-30 minutes, until set. Allow to cool.

To serve, unmould the island into a serving dish, and surround with the crème anglaise.

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