A while back, Prudence Pennywise and others made Floating Islands for Tuesdays with Dorrie. I don't participate, because I've never been much good at taking directions, but I did tuck the idea into the back of my head. Since my dearly beloved greatly enjoys meringue, I thought I'd give this a whirl. With recipes and guidelines from Fannie Farmer, I came up with this lovely offering! And, remember, this is pretty easy; made ahead and assembled at dessert time, it was a hit in my little corner of the world.
"Ocean" (Creme Anglaise)
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
To make the ocean, first prepare the Creme Anglaise (also known as Sauce Anglaise). Scald 2 cups milk in the microwave. Beat 3 eggs in the top of a double boiler with the sugar. Slowly add the hot milk, while stirring, and then sprinkle in the salt. Cook for about 7 to 8 minutes, until the sauce thickens so it coats the back of the spoon (it will never be as thick as custard). Stir in the vanilla extract (or sherry or brandy, if you so desire), place plastic wrap on the surface of the Creme, and chill for a couple of hours (or overnight).
To make the islands, whip the egg whites, sugar and vanilla until very stiff. Heat the milk to a low boil in a small saucepan. Scoop large spoonsful of the meringue out of the mixing bowl (about the size of a whole egg, or larger), and cook by poaching in the simmering milk for about 3 minutes, turning once. You'll only be able to cook one piece at a time. Place on a plate, and cool to room temperature; the islands will deflate very quickly.
For my dessert sauce, I simply put about 1/2 cup thawed strawberries (left from last summer's expedition) in the blender with 2 tbsp of sugar, whirled vigorously until it liquified, and chilled it until ready to use.
To serve, spoon Creme Anglaise into a serving bowl, and float an island in it. Drizzle a dessert sauce over the island, and serve. It was a perfect anniversary dessert, and would be great after a nice meal for adults, or holiday dinner. And, Paula, your little one can eat it, too!