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Friday, January 23, 2015

Îles Flottantes with Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream (& Crème anglaise)

Add crushed dentelle crepes or cookies for crunch and texture

We just returned from a three week trip to France and, although the weather was not great, the food, as usual, was terrific.

Our first stop upon arriving in Paris is our favourite little (very little) local restaurant, Le Hide.  It just seems to get more popular every time we have the chance to go.  We became friends with the chef, Koba, when we lived in this wonderful neighborhood and it is always a joy to see his business doing so well.

Every dish is wonderful but I wanted to share my version of one of the best Îles flottantes we ever had.   Koba's version is served with salted butter caramel ice cream - his take on the traditional caramel sauce.  

There are three parts to this dish and everything can be made ahead of time - the ice cream will keep, covered,  in the freezer for a long time - the creme anglaise will keep for 3-4 days and the meringue for 1 or 2 days , again covered, in the fridge.   Hope you enjoy.  

This is a wonderful alternative desert at this time of year.  It is light, cold, white and creamy - perfect!  The combination of textures and flavours is really really good!

Îles flottantes

You will need:
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of icing sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • few drop of pure vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
  • few drops of fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 300° F (150° C);
  2. Place the egg whites (4) in the bowl of a stand up mixer (or you can use a hand mixer) with a pinch of salt;
  3. Begin to whip the egg whites on medium speed.  Once they begin to foam add a few drops of lemon juice and continue to whip; (the acid of the lemon juice helps to fluff and stabilize the whites - you can also use 1/8 tsp of cream of tartar for the same effect);
  4. Increase the speed and as the whites begin to increase in size, add 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Add the second tablespoon of sugar after about 30 seconds and once the whites are almost ready, add the final tbsp of sugar and the few drops of pure vanilla extract (the whites are almost ready when you begin to notice the whisk leaving its markings in the meringue);
  5. Finish whipping on high speed until you have a glossy, dense, almost marshmallow consistency;
  6. Once the whites are ready remove the bowl from the stand mixer, sift in the tablespoon of icing sugar and fold gently into the meringue; 
  7. Oil a bread pan and gently scoop the meringue into it, pressing down to create a smooth finish;
  8. Cover with aluminium foil and set in hot water bath to cook (line a deep cake pan with a dish cloth and fill with hot water to 1/3 the way up the bread pan);
  9. Cook for 13 minutes (convection oven - regular oven may take one or two minutes more);
  10. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes;
  11. Run a knife along the sides of the pan to release the meringue, turnover onto a plate and remove the mold;
  12. Allow to cool completely, cover and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use (1 or 2 days).

Creme anglaise:
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 (50g) cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) of vanilla paste or vanilla extract
  •  1 1/2 (375ml) cups of milk
  1. Heat the milk (1 1/2 cups - 375ml)  and vanilla paste (1tbsp) in a saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles begin to form on the sides (do not boil);
  2. While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks (4) and sugar (1/4 cup - 50g) until the mixture lightens in colour;
  3. While continuing to whisk, slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture;
  4. Return the cream to medium heat and continue to cook until the mixture begins to thicken, stiring constantly.  This should take about 5 minutes - it will coat the back of spoon. 
  5. Allow to cool and cover with plastic wrap - pressing down on the wrap so that it touches the surface of the creme anglaise (this prevents a crust from forming);
  6. Once cooled, keep covered in the refrigeratore for 4-5 days.
Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream (without an ice cream maker)

  • 250g of sugar (divided 200g or 1 cup+ 50g or 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 30g (2 tbsps) of salted butter
  • pinch of fleur de sel
  • 500ml of whipping cream, divided equally
  • 250ml (1 cup) of whole milk
  • 1tsp of vanilla paste or extract
  • 6 egg yolks
  1. Start by making the caramel:  put 200g (1 cup) of sugar and 2 tbsps of water in a small saucepan;
  2. Heat over medium high heat.  Do not stir,  you can swirl the pan gently over the heat in a circular motion to ensure an even colouring of the caramel; stirring will add air and crystallize the caramel;
  3. While the caramel is cooking, put the whipping cream (1 cup - 250ml), whole milk (1 cup - 250ml) and vanilla paste/extract (1 tsp) into another saucepan and heat gently until small bubbles begin to form on the edges;
  4. Cook  the caramel until it is an even golden colour. Remove from heat and add the butter (30g - 2 tbsps).  Continue to swirl until the butter is blended (adding the butter will help stop the cooking process and prevent the caramel from burning).
  5. Return the caramel to the heat and add the hot milk and cream mixture, string to combine well, keep warm;
  6. In a bowl, combine the egg yolks (6) and the remaining sugar (1/4 cup - 50g) and whisk until the yolks lighten in colour (1 or 2 minutes);
  7. Slowly add the hot cream/milk/caramel mixture whisking constantly;
  8. Once combined, return to the saucepan and continue to cook, over medium heat, stirring continuously until the custard begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon - about 5 minutes (it is important to do this slowly and not bring the custard to a boil - it should reach 170°F or     85° C);
  9. Transfer to a bowl, placed in an ice bath to cool and cover, surface contact, with plastic wrap;
  10. Once cooled, place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight (overnight is better);
  11. Whip the remaining cream (250ml - 1 cup) until firm and gently fold into the cooled caramel custard;
  12. Place in a covered container and freeze.  You can keep this ice cream covered for several weeks (if it lasts that long).

This is so good - I hope you enjoy and have as much success with it as I did!

Thought and smile of the day:

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