Floating Islands (Îles flottantes)
For the crème anglaise
4 free-range eggs - yolks only
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
500ml/18fl oz milk
For the meringue islands
2 free-range eggs, whites only (60g/2¼oz)
45g/1¾oz icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
couple of drops of lemon juice
pinch of salt
For the caramel
I cheated and used a jar of ready made caramel sauce
To make the crème anglaise, mix the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl.
Place the vanilla pod and seeds in a pan with the milk and pepper and bring to a boil.
Remove the pod (you can rinse and dry it and use for vanilla sugar). Then pour a little of the hot milk onto the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously.
Gradually whisk in the rest of the milk, then pour the mix into a clean pan, set over a gentle heat and whisk constantly. Do not let the custard simmer at any point or it will split.
After five minutes it will begin to thicken slightly and become the consistency of single cream (it will thicken more when it cools down).
Transfer to a bowl and chill in the fridge for at least four hours.
To make the meringue islands, put half the egg whites into a clean glass or metal bowl.
Add the sugar, lemon juice and salt and whisk until snow white.
Add the rest of the egg whites and continue whisking until the meringue forms stiff peaks when the whisk is removed.
Gently drop six spoonfuls of meringue into a large pot of simmering water and simmer for a few minutes or until they are slightly puffed up and just set. Remove with a slotted spoon and place onto a sheet of baking paper until needed.
To assemble, pour a ladleful of crème anglaise into each of six glasses and gently place a meringue in the centre. Drizzle with caramel sauce.