Floating meringues

Michel Lemoine makes a luscious, light dessert of billowy milk-poached meringues in a rich vanilla custard with caramel sauce
By Michel Lemoine
Floating meringues
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the vanilla custard

  • 1.25 litres full-cream milk
  • 2 vanilla pods, split lengthways
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 75 g caster sugar

For the meringue

  • 8 egg whites
  • 275 g caster sugar

For the caramel

  • 50 ml water
  • 150 ml caster sugar
  • 50 g almonds

Method

1. Heat the milk to simmering point.

2. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pods and add the seeds and leftover pods to the milk. Whisk until evenly combined.

3. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. This helps infuse the vanilla flavour into the milk.

4. For the meringue, whisk the egg white and sugar until the mixture becomes firm peaks.

5. Scoop out 4 to 6 large spoonfuls of meringue and poach in the gently simmering milk for 5 minutes on each side, taking care not to damage the delicate meringues when turning them over.

6. Carefully lift the poached meringue on to a baking tray and set aside.

7. Strain the milk into a saucepan.

8. Continue making the custard - whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and gradually whisking in the reserved hot milk.

9. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and stir over a gentle heat for about 8-10 minutes, until it begins to thicken.

10. Strain into a bowl and leave to cool before chilling in the fridge.

11. Pour the custard into a large serving bowl and carefully place the poached meringues on top of the vanilla custard.

12. To make the caramel, pour the water into a heavy based pan, scatter over the sugar and set over a medium heat without stirring.

13. When the sugar has completely dissolved, cook the syrup until it turns a golden caramel.

14. Remove from the heat and place the saucepan in cold water to stop further cooking - take care, it will splutter quite a bit.

15. Pour a fine coating of caramel over the poached meringues, top with the flaked almonds and serve straight away.

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