Chef John Folse's Ile Floattante


Prep Time: 1 Hour
Yields: 6-8 Servings

One of the original desserts of early Louisiana, "île flottante" arrived with the French in the late 1600s. Sweetened egg whites are poached and spooned over a thick custard creating the floating effect. The white eggs atop the custard give the dish its other name, "oeufs à la neige" or snow eggs.

Ingredients for Custard:
1/2 dozen eggs, separated (reserve whites for meringue)
2 quarts heavy whipping cream
1 pound of confectioners' sugar
2 tbsps vanilla
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cloves
pinch of cinnamon
3 tbsps corn starch

Place whipping cream in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. Bring to 160º F, stirring occasionally. Do not scorch or allow to boil. While cream is heating, combine in a large glass bowl egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. Using a wire whisk, whip egg mixture to a ribbony mixture. Once cream is heated, ladle approximately one quart of the hot mixture into the eggs while whisking constantly to keep from scrambling. Continue to whisk until cream reaches 200º F. DO NOT BOIL or mixture will curdle. When mixture reaches 200º F, remove from heat and quickly strain into a pot. Adjust flavors if necessary, stirring occasionally to cool while preparing meringue.

Ingredients for Meringue:
6 reserved whites
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsps cornstarch
1quart milk

In a small bowl combine the sugar and cornstarch and mix thoroughly. In a large clean mixing bowl, beat whites until stiff peaks form. Add sugar mixture and continue beating 1-2 minutes. In medium saucepan heat milk over low heat and poach spoonfuls of these floating isles, approximately 2 minutes on each side. Remove poached meringues from milk bath and place on top of prepared custard. Serve 2 floating isles in a soup bowl of custard.