Floating Meringues

A delicate dessert of lightly poached meringues bathed in a strawberry and vanilla sauces
By John Burton Race
Floating Meringues
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the meringues

  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 550 ml milk
  • 6 egg whites
  • 200 g caster sugar

For the vanilla sauce

  • 500 ml milk, (use the milk from poached meringues)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 200 ml double cream

For the strawberry sauce

  • 300 g strawberries, washed and de-hulled
  • 1 1/3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 60 g blanched flaked almonds

To serve

  • icing sugar, for dusting

Method

1. For the meringues: in a medium saucepan, bring the vanilla pod and milk to the boil and remove from the heat to infuse.

2. Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until they form stiff peaks, then gently whisk in the sugar a little at a time.

3. Put the milk back on to the stove to simmer but not boil. Dip two large identical spoons into the hot milk. Scoop up a spoonful of meringue mixture and use both spoons to form the meringue into a large egg shape or 'quenelle'. Place the egg of meringue into the milk and poach slowly for 2 minutes on each side until it is firm to the touch. Lift out of the milk with a slotted spoon and place on a kitchen paper to drain. Repeat this process until all of the meringue mixture is used up. You can place the cooked meringues into a refrigerator until required.

4. For the vanilla sauce: bring the poaching milk back to the boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Place the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar and mix them together. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and pour over the egg and sugar mixture whisking continuously so that the eggs don't become lumpy.

5. Pour the mixture back into the pan and place the pan over a very low heat. Stir the sauce continuously until it thickens to a point where it will coat the back of a spoon. Do not allow the sauce to boil or it will be ruined.

6. Take the pan off the heat and strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Whisk in the cream. Cover the bowl with cling film and put to one side.

7. For the strawberry sauce: put half of the strawberries into a liquidiser and blend to a puree. Sieve the puree into a saucepan and add the icing sugar. Reduce until you have a syrupy consistency. Skim off any froth and put to one side.

8. Dice the remaining strawberries into 5mm cubes and when the syrup is cold, stir in the dice.

9. Preheat the grill to a high heat. Place the almonds on a baking sheet and dust with icing sugar. Carefully toast under the grill until golden and allow to cool. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the strawberry sauce into the centre of 6 soup plates. Place 3 meringues per person on top. Pour the vanilla sauce around the meringues and drizzle a little of the remaining strawberry syrup over the top. To finish sprinkle the meringues with a few almonds and dust the plates with icing sugar.

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