Iles flottantes are a French classic. They are made of egg whites, whisked and poached in simmering milk, then the milk is used to make a custard and the egg whites are placed on the custard where they look like islands. In this version, which I got from my friend Ottoki from the Supertoinette forum, the egg whites are not poached but cooked in the oven for 3 minutes and then coated with pralin (a mixture of hazelnut and almonds toasted in caramel and chopped in a food processor). The pralin adds a crunchy texture to this creamy and fluffy dessert, it’s absolutely delightful!
Source: Aux petits bonheurs d’Ottoki
8 egg yolks
1 vanilla pod
180g egg whites (about 6 egg whites)
- First, make the pralin: heat a frying pan and add the nuts and fry for 5 minutes. leave to cool for 5 minutes.
- Heat the pan again and add the sugar and nuts and trying not to stir the pan too much, cook until the sugar becomes caramel (be careful not to burn the sugar otherwise it will be bitter). Tilt the frying pan often to spread the heat evenly around.
- When all the sugar has turned golden in colour, turn off the heat and quickly pour the content onto a silicone mat or a marble slab, spreading a bit with a spatula to have an even layer. Leave to cool for one hour (you can go ahead and make the custard and whisk the whites in the meantime).
- When the caramelised nuts have cooled, break them into pieces (I put them in a clean tea towel and bashed them with a rolling pin).
- Put the pieces in the TM bowl and mix 5 sec/speed 8. Check the mixture, it should be like coarse breadcrumbs (I overdid mine and they were too powdery so try not to mix too long).
- Tip out into a tupperware box, you will only use a little bit for the iles flottantes but pralin keeps very well and can be used in a great variety of recipes (if you use the same amount of dark chocolate, mixed in your Thermomix with the pralin, you will get praliné, which is used in cakes or chocolates).
- To make the custard: place the egg yolks and sugar in the TM bowl with the butterfly whisk. Mix 1 min 30 sec/speed 2. Meanwhile, place the bowl that will hold the custard in the freezer.
- Remove the butterfly wisk and add the milk until it reaches the 1/2 litre marking. Scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the milk. Cook 8 min/80C/speed 4. Then mix 2 min/speed 1. Mix again 1 min/speed 2.
- Pass the custard through a sieve (I didn’t do it) and pour into the frozen bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate.
- Thorougly clean the TM bowl and butterfly whisk and dry them with a tea towel.
- Preheat the oven at 180C.
- To make the egg whites: add the egg whites and sugar. Whisk for 10 min/speed 3, measuring cup OFF.
- Either use a semi-sphere silicone mould brushed with oil or scoop the egg whites (using an ice cream scooper for instance) onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper.
- Bake for 3 minutes in the oven (no more!) and leave out to rest at room temperature.
- Roll them in the pralin and place on top of the custard.
- Pour some liquid caramel on top: it’s heavenly!