Dark Chocolate Floating Islands – Gravity

The Film:

The Dish:

The Reason:

Don’t let go- either of your partner, when you’re drifting untethered in the boundless expanses of space – or this dessert. One has deadly consequences, the other will be just disappointing. These orbs of poached meringue (ile flottante in French- or floating islands) seemingly  defy gravity, suspended upon a sea of dark custard. And while they resemble the downy suits of astronauts, they’re also much more delicious than any dehydrated food available on a space shuttle. Now, listen closely. The key to both their success, (and Dr Ryan Stone’s (aka Sandra Bullock)’s survival) is about keeping hold of as much air as possible.  You could serve this nursery-soft dessert as is, but a few spiky shards of free form toffee help make them sparkle –  though if you’re still traumatised by the prospect of sharp pieces of solar debris hurtling with abandon at you through space, feel free to leave them out.

The Way:

Serves 4


1 3/4 cups / 440 ml full fat milk
70 g caster sugar
2 eggs, separated
70 g of  85 per cent cocoa solids chocolate

50 g caster sugar

Here’s how we roll

1) Combine 1 1/2 cups/ 3/75 ml milk with 45 g of caster sugar in a wide saucepan over a medium/low heat. Whisk to dissolve the sugar and bring the liquid to a gentle simmer.

2) Whisk the egg whites in a very clean bowl with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 25 g of sugar, teaspoon by teaspoon, whisking well to combine until you have a stiff meringue.

3) Use two dessert spoons to fashion quenelles/orbs of meringue and use a spatula (or your finger) to gently slide them into the simmering milk. Poach for 2-3 minutes, then gently roll them over and baste with the warm milk. Continue to cook them until they are slightly firm to touch.

4) Use a slotted spoon to remove and allow to drain on paper towel. Repeat until you have used up all the meringue (should make around 12 ‘Islands’).

5) Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining quarter cup of milk. Strain the poaching liquid into the egg yolks and milk and place in a clean saucepan over a medium/low heat. Stir  until your custard thickens enough that a swipe with your finger through the a custard coated spoon remains distinct.

6) Add the dark chocolate and stir over a low heat to combine until you have a smooth, chocolate custard.

7) To make the praline, place 50 g of caster sugar in a pan over a medium heat. Swirl the pan until you have an amber, liquid caramel. Do not stir.

8) Pour the caramel out onto baking paper. Allow to harden into toffee before breaking into shards.

9) To serve portion the chocolate custard into four shallow bowls. Gently float two to three meringue islands over the top and garnish with toffee shards.

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