Tuesday, February 10, 2009

TWD: Floating Islands

Or, uh, more like icebergs.

This week's recipe was Floating Islands chosen by Shari of Whisk. According to Dorie, this is a classic french dessert. That's all I needed to know. I was intrigued by the name and by the picture in the book.

Floating Island are puffs of meringue floating in a sea of creme anglaise, a custard-like cream, then sprinkled with caramel on top.

The custard came together just fine. I didn't seem to have any problems with it other than the color. It was much more yellow than Dorie's version in the book. Her instructions were to whisk togother vigorously the yolks and sugar until it became thick and pale. Well, it thickened. And it did lighten up in color, but not to a super pale. I whisked for longer than the 3 minutes suggested too. Maybe I wasn't vigorous enough? Still, it tasted good. Onto the next step.

I am not a big fan of meringue. I much prefer whipped cream as pie topping. I think it's the texture that I don't care for. But I moved forward with an open mind. My meringue seemed to come together easily enough. It was "firm but satiny and still glossy."

But it tasted too eggy to me. I don't remember meringue on top of pie tasting like eggs. Of course, I haven't had it in years either. I thought it could be one of two things. First, while I was seperating the eggs, a little yoke slipped into the whites. Oops. I scooped it out and was able to get all of it. It didn't effect the whites from stiffening up. No, that's not it. So that leaves the poaching effect. Maybe poaching the meringue in the milk brought out more of the egg flavor? Maybe I poached it a little too long. Did yours taste like eggs? I invited my parents over to help me eat it since Jeff is out of town. My mom loves meringue. She agreed with me that it tasted more eggy than meringue normally does, but she liked it. I didn't care for it.

Then there was the shaping of the islands. You have two options - scooping the meringue so that you end up with a rocky volcanic island, or molding the meringue between two spoons so that you end up with a manicured oval island. Well. I tried molding the meringue between two spoons and ended up with a rocky volcanic iceberg! They grew huge while cooking, but then they deflated a little after removing them from the pan.

Final verdict - these were okay. I didn't love them but my mom did. I liked the custard a lot, but didn't care for the islands. I'm sure if Dorie were to make them for me, they would be delicious. I think I did something to mess up the taste of the islands. Either that, or I continue to dislike meringue. I am glad that I made them though. I've never made this kind of a dessert and it was fun putting it all together. So thanks Shari for picking out an interesting and different recipe! As always, you can find the recipe in Dorie's cookbook and at Shari's blog, although I'm currently experiencing some technical difficulties in linking to her blog. I'll keep trying. (EDA: fixed it!) Be sure to check out what other bakers thought of this recipe.

Next week: Devil's Food White-Out Cake!


Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I'm glad you tried them and good that your mom liked them. Thanks for baking along with me this week!

TeaLady said...

Good that you experimented with them. At least your mom liked them. They look. good.

AmyRuth said...

I'm glad you made them too! So fun to experience new recipes. Some of my smaller islands tasted a little like yours. Like you I attributed it to cooking a little to long for their size. Yours really look beautiful and I loved the creme anglaise.
Thank you for visiting.