Originally known as œufs à la neige – 'snow eggs', this dessert features pillowy meringues floating in a bed of custard.
- 4 egg whites
- ¼ tsp white vinegar
- small pinch salt
- 110 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Lavender crème anglaise
- 200 ml milk
- 200 ml pouring cream
- 2 tbsp dried lavender
- 4 egg yolks
- 60 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
- 125 g (1 cup) slivered almonds
- 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Wine pairing: Champagne Thiénot x Penfolds Cuvée, Champagne, France
1. For the lavender crème anglaise, place the milk, cream and lavender in a saucepan and bring to just below the boil over high heat.
2. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until well combined. As soon as the milk comes to the boil, gradually whisk into the egg mixture until well combined. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve into a bowl placed over a larger bowl of ice. Stand until cool, whisking occasionally. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. For the praline, preheat the oven to 160˚C. Place the almonds on an oven tray and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly coloured. Remove from the oven and set aside. Place the sugar in a frying pan over medium heat and cook until golden, tilting the pan occasionally to help the mixture caramelise evenly. Add the toasted almonds, stir to coat in the caramel, then pour onto a baking paper-lined tray. Stand until cool.
4. Fill a wide, deep frying pan half full of water and bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low so the water is only gently simmering.
5. Place the egg whites, vinegar and salt in an electric mixer and whisk until the egg whites are starting to foam. With the motor running, gradually add the sugar, then the vanilla until the meringue is glossy and just firm. Using 2 metal spoons, shape the meringue into quenelles, dropping then into the gently simmering water as you go. Simmer for 10 minutes before turning and cooking for another 10 minutes or until the whites are firm to the touch. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined tray.
6. To serve, roughly chop the praline. Pour a little lavender crème anglaise into a serving bowl, place ile flottante on the top, then sprinkle with praline.
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