My sister Eileen asked me to post about making Ile flottant and big brothers always do what their little sisters ask!
Ile flottant (Floating islands) and Ouefs a la Niege (Eggs in snow) are often seen as interchangeable terms for the same recipe, that is meringue floating on creme anglais, but they are different. Ile flottants are baked in an oven and Ouefs a la neige are poached in milk or water, the poaching method is the most common method used.
The dessert looks very impressive but like most classic recipes is simple in its execution, but don’t tell your guests that!
I had some old friends who I had not seen for a very long time staying over the weekend and I wanted to cook something good but not needing too much time stuck in front of the stove, so dessert Ouefs a la neige fitted the bill perfectly. I had some Maras des bois strawberries in the garden so decided to dispense with the traditional creme anglais and serve my eggs in snow on a soup of strawberries, tasty and frugal.
Oeufs a la Niege with Strawberry Soup Serve 6
Ingredients for Strawberry soup
500 gms Strawberries
250 ml Fromage frais
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
Blitz everything in a liquidiser, sieve and chill. Do add the balsmic vinegar if you have any, the vinegar will make the strawberries taste even more strawberry!
Ingredients for Ouefs a la Neige
4 Egg whites
60 gms Caster sugar
Pinch of salt
Heat a large pan of hot water to simmering point.
While the water is heating whisk the egg whites and salt together in a completely dry bowl until the mix forms firm peaks. Then whisk in the sugar until the mix is firm and glossy.
To make the meringues simply add a tablespoon of the egg white mixture to the simmering water. Most classic recipes call for simmering sweetened milk, but it really isn’t necessary, the egg white cooks instantly and do not take on the flavour of the milk which even if it did would be lost in the sauce in which the meringues are served.
Add two or three spoonfuls at a time to the simmering water, don’t make the spoonfuls to big as the meringues puff up. After a couple of minutes turn the meringues over to cook the other side, after another minute use a slotted spoon to take the meringues out and set on a plate to drain.
Carry on poaching and draining until the mix is exhausted but take care not to over crowd the pan. As the meringues drain and cool they will reduce in volume, don’t worry this normal. Pop the drained meringues into a bowl and store until needed in a fridge.
To serve simply pour a lake of strawberry soup into a bowl and add meringues, in the classic recipe you would then add a drizzle of caramel to the meringue but caramel would kill the delicacy of the strawberry soup so I left if out, and here is the finished dished garnished with some whole strawberries.
As you can see I couldn’t wait to take a photograph, but I remembered before I ate too much.