Ile Flottante with Christin from German Cook in Paris

What is an “Ile Flottante” and why is it such an exciting thing to have made the other day in Christin’s kitchen?  Well, it literally translates to floating island, and that makes sense because it is actually a floating fluffy and moist meringue that is riding atop a bed of decadent, and in this case spiced, crème anglaise.

Crème anglaise is what ice cream is before it’s ice cream.  Technically speaking, the difference between it and pastry cream is that the milk for the crème anglaise is boiled before tempering the eggs, then slowly warmed, making it more liquid and useful for sauces, or ice cream.  A pastry cream is the opposite: the milk is just heated before adding to the egg yolks, and then brought to a boil after, cooking the eggs more, making them firm up, and making something more of a custard or a pudding.

This dessert is perfect for a special night out, or a tasteful experience any day of the week, you can also have a private dining experience like the  Babel House restaurant offers, a really tasty and wonderful chance to expand your taste buds with all the special dishes you can find there.

Geek time done.  Let’s get back to the Ile Flottante business.

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Ahem.  Ile Flottantes are a light and surprisingly easy gourmet dessert to make.  It’ll make you look like a Michelin-starred chef… and basically all you did was efficiently use 4 eggs and some milk and sugar.  And in this version spices, as Christin had a beautiful idea to give it a lil somethin’ somethin’ for the holidays.

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We used coconut milk in this recipe, but you can use whatever dairy-free or dairy-full milk of choice, whatever fits your dietary needs.  Also, we replaced sugar with coconut sugar, but you can use date sugar for another refined-sugar-free alternative, or just white sugar if that’s your jam.  However you wanna roll, babe, it’s fine. 😉

So, without further adieu, here is Christin’s beautiful recipe, with a flawless technique using a ladel to cook the meringue, to create your very own Ile Flottantes.

Enjoy, and I hope this sees your dining room table at least once this holiday season!

Ile Flottante (GF, dairy-free, refined sugar-free)

Serves 5-6
Prep time 24 hours
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 24 hours, 15 minutes
Allergy Egg
Dietary Corn Free, Dairy Free, Diabetic, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Nut Free, Soy Free, Vegetarian
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Gourmet, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 2 cups coconut milk (500 ml, you can sub out another milk of choice if you'd like)
  • 4 eggs (separated into whites and yolks)
  • 2/3 cups coconut sugar, divided (again, you can use another sugar of choice if you prefer)
  • Zest of 1/2 orange and 1/2 lemon
  • 2 pieces cardamom pods
  • 1 stick cinnamon (or you can use about 1/2 tsp. grated)

Directions

Crème Anglaise
Step 1 You're going to start by infusing your milk for the crème anglaise the night before. Gently heat milk in a saucepan with the zests, cardamom, vanilla bean pod with the grains scooped out and added, and either a whole stick of cinnamon or 1/4 the stick grated. Put in a sealable container, and let infuse in the fridge overnight.
Step 2 The next day, strain it into a saucepan. Whisk your egg yolks with 1/3 cup sugar until they're are "blanched" or homogenous and creamier in texture and color.
Step 3 Once your eggs are blanched, heat the coconut milk to a boil, and gently pour over egg mixture slowly, so as to not curdle the eggs. This is what "tempering" eggs is.
Step 4 Pour mixture back in saucepan, and cook, stirring constantly with a spatula or spoon, over a low temperature until thickened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean, cool bowl and let cool while you prepare your meringues.
Meringue
Step 5 Whisk your 4 egg whites until hard peaks form. Then, add the remaining coconut sugar and beat or whisk until homogenous.
Step 6 Immediately, cook the meringues: heat water in a large saucepan until hot, not boiling! Then take a greased ladel, scoop up your meringue, level it off with a spatula, and dunk your ladel into the hot water. You'll see the little meringue simply float up! Let cook 1 minute each side, and poke it to make sure it's a bit firmed up, meaning it's cooked. Strain, let sit on a plate lined with a towel to remove excess water.
To Serve
Step 7 Fill a serving recipient with crème anglaise. Add the meringue on top. Optional: you can top with caramel and/or orange zest. It's delicious!!!

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