I was out of my league with this recipe. I think I messed up every aspect. This week's recipe was Floating Islands, chosen by Shari of Whisk. Little E was home with the pink eye (again). After having him shower, wash his hair, disinfect his glasses, and wash his hands, we worked on this together.
Dorie says this recipe is a "French classic" and often a "childhood touchstone" because it is "so easy". Basically, islands of meringue are poached in milk then served on a creamy base and drizzled in caramel strands. I think our first error occurred when we read that the recipe served six. Somehow, Little E and I both missed the fact that a serving is two islands. We thought we were supposed to have six islands, so our islands were gigantic. The recipe tells you that you can smooth your islands or let them have a more volcanic look. Little E wanted to go for the volcanic look (and I couldn't figure out the 2 oval spoons technique). So here are our giant volcanic islands poaching.
Before they erupted. Our islands didn't quite look done, so we turned up the heat a little and within a matter of seconds, our giant islands exploded and mixed with the milk, forming a giant supercontinent. Pangea went in the garbage and we started over.
This time, I was able to smooth the islands more (but neglected to get a picture). We poached them for two minutes per side and they survived. We proceeded to make the creme anglaise. In our case, creme failz. The eggs and sugar were supposed to thicken, lighten in color, and cook to 180 degrees. Our creme anglaise curdled (scrambled?) at 140 (even though we did temper the eggs, we really did). Luckily, I had read someone else's advice to use a stick blender if this happens.
When it came time to serve them, I made the caramel sauce, but couldn't lightly drizzle it with a fork. My caramel was a little heavy handed, but Little E and I present our version of Floating Islands: