Saturday, April 30, 2011

Iles Flottante with Roasted Rhubarb

Just because it's Easter, it doesn't mean that all the eggs you eat have to be painted or made of chocolate...  Iles Flottante is a classic French dessert made up of poached meringues, a creme anglaise (thin custard) sauce and a drizzle of caramel over the top.  It's very light, sweet and delicious and it's a dessert I'll always order if I see it on a menu.  The process sounds really scary, but if you can poach an egg, you can make this.

Seeing as the first rhubarb is in the shops now, I decided to cut the sweetness of the meringue with some rhubarb roasted in the oven with some orange juice & vanilla.  This is a chop, pour & bake dish, so absolutely no technical skill required beyond turning on an oven.

I had some cartons of Creme Anglaise in the SuperShed from my last visit to France, so I opened one & used this rather than make it from scratch - very lazy I know, but I've already defrosted the freezer, made 36 Chocolate Banana Cupcakes, Marinara Sauce & Pizza Dough for tonight, so I think I can take a few shortcuts!!!

Iles Flottante 

2 Egg Whites
110g Caster Sugar
200ml Milk
1 Vanilla Pod

Put the milk in a large pot & gently heat.  Split the vanilla pod & scrape out the seeds - add to the warming milk.

Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they form soft peaks.  Use an electric whisk or your arm may fall off with all the effort.

Add the caster sugar gradually & whisk until it has turned into a pillowy, shiny elastic meringue.

Drop large tablespoons of the meringue into the gently simmering vanilla milk & poach for 3 minutes on the first side, and 2 minutes on the other.  A metal slotted spoon is the easiest implement to turn the meringues as they can be awkward to flip.  If you don't have one, use two forks.

Set the cooked meringues aside & repeat until you've used all the mixture up.  At this stage, they don't look terribly impressive but taste a little bit & you'll be amazed at the sugary vanilla loveliness.

Roasted Rhubarb

4 large stems Rhubarb, washed, trimmed & chopped into 2cm pieces
3 tbsp Orange Juice
1 Vanilla Pod

Preheat your oven to 200c / Gas Mark 6.

Place the rhubarb in a non-metal ovenproof dish.  Split the vanilla pod & scrape out the seeds & add to the rhubarb along with the orange juice.

Cover loosely with foil & bake for 30 -35 minutes until the rhubarb has puffed up & is tender.

Remove from the oven & allow to cool.

Pour a generous serving of the Creme Anglaise into a shallow bowl, spoon on some of the roasted rhubarb and then top with the poached meringue.  A drizzle of thin caramel sauce completes this delicious dessert.

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