Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An Island Adventure: Tuesdays with Dorie




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:



Then I did have fun with the caramel threads:

14 comments:

n.o.e said...

This was quite the eventful recipe, wasn't it? Love your supercontinent! I made mine smaller than specified, and they were a bit easier to handle. I hope you liked the taste - your caramel turned out really well.
Nancy

Andrea said...

How nice to see your son helping in the kitchen. I bet that was a very fun 'sick day' project :) Sounds like everything ended up just right with these for you guys after the pangea incident. The caramel looks perfect!

Jennifer said...

I'm trying to come up with a good "continental drift" joke here!

Anyway, what did your family think of the islands? Did your creme anglaise taste good?

spike. said...

Love the spiky caramel threads!

Cathy said...

Looks like fun -- great way for your little guy to spend a sick day. This recipe have me fits too. It was fun to try it once, but I doubt it is going to become a go-to dessert for me. We did enjoy it, though. Yours look great!

pinkstripes said...

How cool to have a helper in the kitchen. Love the pangea comment.

Gabe's Girl said...

Wow, what a cool mom. Your son must have had a fun time. I wish I had tried the caramel sauce. I have made it in the past and not in a while...
Next, time. Great, great job!

Sara said...

I wish I could have seen this volcanic explosion of egg whites...maybe that would be a good science project. This looks great, I like your spikey caramel.

Teanna said...

The caramel threads look great! This was quite a project!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Those caramel threads are great! Love your continent references. Looks like you had a fun time with your son. Thanks for baking along with me this week!

Ivette said...

Your dessert looks great and I bet it was great having a helper in the kitchen with this challenge!

AmyRuth said...

I love that you joined forces to float your islands. Great job with the caramel too.
AmyRuth

TeaLady said...

So that is what happened to Pangea. Love the caramel threads. The Hunk used to help me, but I think he thinks he is too old and too cool now.

Katie said...

"Pangea went in the garbage and we started over."

ROFL!