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Ile flottante (floating island)

Time 40 minutes
Yields Serves 7
Ile flottante (floating island)
(Los Angeles Times)

Creme anglaise

1

Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until well blended.

2

Pour the half-and-half into a medium saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and scrape the seeds into the half-and-half. Drop in the pod. Heat to a simmer.

3

Add a little of the half-and-half mixture into the egg yolk-sugar mixture, stirring slowly. Add the rest, stir to combine and pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

4

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 5 to 6 minutes. Strain the mixture into a bowl and chill. May be made a day ahead; cover and store in the refrigerator.

Caramel sauce

1

Combine the water and sugar in a small heavy saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil. Continue to boil without stirring until the sugar turns deep amber, about 6 to 7 minutes.

2

Remove the syrup from the heat. Stir in the cream and set aside. Can be made a day ahead; cool, cover and refrigerate. Warm gently over low heat before serving.

Meringues and assembly

1

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form.

2

Pour the milk into a medium skillet and heat to a low simmer.

3

Form the egg-white mixture into meringue “islands” by spooning about one-fourth cup of meringue onto a large spoon and then turning the spoon over and scooping the mixture into another spoon to form ovals.

4

Drop the meringues into the simmering milk. Poach them, turning once, for about 3 minutes total. If a skin forms on the milk, skim it off and discard. Remove the meringues from the milk, and set onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

5

To serve, spoon one-third cup creme anglaise into a soup plate. Top with two meringue “islands” and drizzle with a little caramel sauce. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve immediately.

From Christian Shaffer, chef-owner of Chloe.

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