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Île Flottante- Slow baked Meringues with crème Anglaise and Bittersweet chocolate -1/30/10


Île flottante means floating island in French.  Île flottante is a classic dessert which consist of meringues (whipped egg white and sugar) floating on a rich vanilla custard sauce and topped usually topped with caramel.  Sometimes it is also called oeuf a la neige which means snow eggs.  The difference between the two desserts is: if the meringues are baked than it is Île flottante and if it is poached in spoonfuls, it is Oeuf a la neige. 

Tonight I have a few friends over I want to make a fancy dessert so I found this recipe in my French Laundry cookbook.  As you, Thomas Keller does not make any thing easy, he takes this dessert to many different levels by adding a bittersweet chocolate mousse inside the meringue, and adding another layer of flavor with the mint oil.

The Île flottante came out to be fantastic!   I really like the texture of the dessert.

  This dessert takes a lot of time but in the end it was worth the effort. 

The sweetness of the meringue against the bittersweet chocolate mousse went so well with the rich crème Anglaise and the mint oil added a nice little touch.

View of the inside of the Île flottante.  Layers upon layers of flavors so yummy!


Preparation work..

Ingredients: for 6 ramekins


5 large egg whites

1 cup sugar


Creme Anglaise (yield 2 cups)

1 cup milk

1 cup heavy cream

5 larg egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

Chocolate mousse

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup meringue (reserve from above)


Mint Oil

3 packed cup mint leaves

about 3/4 cup canola oil


Put the egg whites and sugar in a large bowl on top a double boiler.

Keep stirring until the sugar is melted and the mixture is warm ( a few minutes)

Pour the mixture in a large bow and beat the egg whites mixture to a soft peak.

It takes about 10 minutes to beat the egg whites and sugar to soft peak (it is now a meringue)

Make sure to reserve 1/2 cup of the meringue for the chocolate mousse.

Scoop out the meringues into 6 4oz ramekin an smooth out the top by running a knife over it.

Boil some water and pour it in a large baking tray lined with newspaper and insert the 6 ramekins inside the hot bath and put them in a preheated oven at 250 degrees and bake them for 20 minutes.

The meringues are now baked and they are removed from the oven.  Notice how the meringues are puffed up.  Put them aside to cool and then put them in the refrigerator for about 1 hour or so.

In the mean time make the mousse by putting the bitter chocolate in a large bowl and pour over the hot cream.  Let the chocolate melt.  Stir a few time to mix the chocolate and the cream together.   

Beat the whipped cream and then mixed with 1/2 cup of the reserved meringue. 

Add the whipped cream mixture to the melted chocolate and fold gently.

Keep folding the cream until the mousse is smooth.  You will only use 1/3.  Save the remaining mousse so you can serve it as a separate dessert.

Take the ramekins out of the refrigerator and scoop out the center of each meringues.

Fill the hole with the chocolate mousse...

Once it is done, wrap in ramekin with plastic wrap and then refrigerate them  until ready to serve.

Now I am making the mint oil.  Put the mint leaves in a boiling salted water for 15 seconds.

Pour out the mint leaves and put them right away in ice-bath to shock them so that the colors will stay vibrant.

Put the leaves in a blender with oil and blend them for a few minutes.

Pour the mixture over some cheese clothe and let the oil drip out.

It takes a while for all the oil to drip out but not rush it.

Prepare the crème Anglaise (click on link to see preparation) and refrigerate for a few hours.

Time to serve the dessert!

  Un-mold the meringue on a plate, spoon some crème Anglaise around the plate... 

Squirt some mint oil and make a bunch of dots on top of the crème Anglaise.  I also sprinkle some shaved bitter chocolate on top of the meringues.

Filed as: Eggs, Chocolate

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