Floating Isles dessert is delicate and delicious. It can finish any dinner party on a high note. It is also naturally gluten free, as creme Anglaise sauce and cooked meringue, do not have any dry ingredients. Traditionally meringue for this dessert is made as French meringue, gently cooked by simmering in milk. However, when I was cooking Swiss meringue to be used for different purposes, I have discovered that this type of meringue makes floating isles dessert very easy to prepare. Not only that, excessive sweet taste of meringue can be balanced by incorporation of tart fruit or berries puree. The taste of meringue gets an extra dimension.
Another advantage of Swiss meringue in this dessert comes from the possibility to pack meringue for 2-3 days of refrigerated storage in pastry bag, that does not in any way influence its structure or taste. Safe storage allows to serve as many, or as few portions of the dessert at your convenience. Floating Isles dessert was one of the sweet dishes served for our Christmas lunch.
Another convenient version of meringue for this dessert is the baked one. We always order one at our favourite restaurant France Soir.
These two options allow to skip messy and quite delicate process of cooking fresh egg white in meringue by its gentle boiling in milk. In Swiss meringue preparation egg white is cooked while mixed with sugar on a water bath. Swiss meringue withstands different quantity of sugar to have strong enough structure for the dessert. It also can tolerate honey or glucose powder as a sweetener and incorporation of fruit or berries puree to enrich the flavour.
- 1 vanilla bean
- 500ml full cream milk
- 70g sugar
- 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk (or 1 whole egg and 3 egg yolks)
Swiss meringue with cranberry puree
- 70g egg white (from 2 large eggs)
- 140g regular or caster sugar
- 25g cranberry puree
- 300g frozen cranberries
- 150g/ml water
- add water to cranberries, use small sauce pan
- cook on medium/high heat to boiling point, reduce heat to low and cook for 3-5 minutes to soften cranberries
- transfer into blending cup/glass and use stick blender to puree cranberries to fine consistency
- put puree through a sieve
Swiss meringue with cranberry puree
- prepare a pot and a heat-resistant glass bowl with round bottom
- add water to a pot, glass bowl bottom should not touch simmering water
- place glass bowl in a way to allow steam to escape from the pot away from your hands
- place egg whites into clean and dry bowl, add sugar
- when water in the pot starts boiling, reduce heat for water to just simmer
- use absolutely clean spoon and whisk, for final clean I usually put them in a tall glass and cover with boiling water
- stir sugar until it completely dissolves in egg whites
- use thermometer to register temperature, when it reaches 65C start whisking
- in my conditions it takes 3-4 minutes for mixture to thicken and become white in colour
- at that stage I add cranberry puree
- whisk another 2 minutes on water bath
- take the bowl from water bath and continue whisking for another 3-4 minutes
- ready meringue will have a very thick texture and a pale pink colour
- transfer meringue in a pastry bag for nice dessert presentation
- meringue can be stored in a sealed bag for up to 4-5 days without losing its volume or changing texture
I also tried to bake/dry off this meringue to see how it can be used in other desserts.
I consider Floating Isles dessert with creme Anglaise and Swiss meringue not only delicious, but also a very practical dessert, where both ingredients can be made ahead and served at any moment without any effort.