Oeufs à la neige

Jun Tanaka updates the retro French favourite floating islands with rosemary-scented fried figs
By Jun Tanaka
Oeufs à la neige
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the floating islands

  • 750 ml full-fat milk
  • 2 vanilla pods, split lengthways, seeds scraped
  • 6 egg whites
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp lemon juice

For the custard

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 75 g caster sugar

For the figs

  • 1 large knob butter
  • 4-6 figs, halved
  • 1 branch rosemary, small sprigs picked


1. For the meringue: pour the milk into a wide pan. Add the vanilla pods and seeds and warm over a low heat. This mixture will be used for poaching.

2. Whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks when the whisk is lifted from the bowl. Gradually add the sugar, whisking continuously until the mixture is firm and glossy, then whisk in the lemon juice.

3. Use two dessertspoons to shape the meringue into quenelles (rugby ball-shaped pieces). Drop each quenelle into the warm milk, working in stages so as not to overcrowd the pan. Poach the quenelles for 2 minutes on each side then transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon you need about 3 meringues per person.

4. For the custard: bring a small saucepan of water to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large heatproof bowl. Strain the warm poaching milk onto the eggs and whisk together briefly.

5. Put the bowl over the pan of boiling water and continue whisking until it reaches a thin custard consistency - this should take 5-10 minutes. Alternatively, if its taking to long to thicken, you can tip the custard into a saucepan and cook gently over a low direct heat.

6. For the figs: melt some butter in a frying pan over a low heat. Fry the figs with the rosemary until the fruit is hot through.

7. To serve, place 3 meringues in each serving bowl, pour a little custard over and top with the fried figs.

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