Ben the Baker

Just a guy trying to get his kids to eat

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Chocolate Oeufs a la neige (Floating Islands)

Posted by osakaben41 on March 25, 2010

They say the 100 pleats in a chef’s toque represent the number of different ways to cook an egg.  If that’s true I’ve got at least another 70 to learn, but this at least was a step in that direction.  More commonly known State-side as “floating Islands” Oeufs a la neige (translated from French as “eggs in snow”) usually consists of poached meringue in a creme anglaise sauce.

Like most of these projects, the appeal was mostly that I had never tried making this before, much less eaten one.  After a quick search online I found an interesting approach at an oldie but goodie foodie blog for a cardamom chocolate custard.  I’ve made an anglaise before, and while there are still a million variations I still want to try, I hadn’t gone chocolate in awhile.   The custard though was nice and thick, and so couldn’t be served the same as a thin sauce, particularly given the size of the bowls we were using.  I’m trying so hard these days not to kill or incapacitate my wife with heaping mounds of desserts, so what should have been islands in the sea came out instead as eggs on a pile of chocolate mud.   Not that anybody was complaining.

This recipe called for the meringue to be poached in simmering water as opposed to flavored milk like some others do.  Even with that, it just seems like a missed opportunity to use a straight meringue, not the most flavorful thing in its own right.  Perhaps it’s cheating, but since we’re already experimenting anyway, I threw in some Orange Blossom water and a little food coloring.

Poached in water, we lost a great deal of flavor and color, but they still came through with a little character, subtle but still there.  lastly topped it all with a little orange powder I still had left over from another project.  The custard may have been thicker than typical, more of a pudding than a sauce, but it tasted pretty good.  If nothing else, poached meringue is a new trick in the tool bag, maybe something that could add another texture to a more complex project down the road.

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