Isle flottante, Oeuf a la Neige, WTF?
ESSENTIALS OF PASTRY & BAKING PART DEUX.
Leave it to the French to come up with bizarre terminologies for desserts. Literally the above translates to eggs in the snow, and floating island…poor eggs! Undoubtedly, these like many pastry recipes or creations were founded out of the need to use stuff up! In some cases, like in science, they were discovered by mistake. None the less, they are part of gastronomy now. I’ll be honest, meringue is not my favorite thing. I don’t like making it or eating it to be honest. Stay with me here, as I explain the simplest, yet most complex pastry skill you might acquire. I won’t be going into any great detail, if you want more shoot me an email; firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will add you to my basic culinary program. It’s free, and has lots of excellent content and recipes.
There are three types of meringue; French, Swiss & Italian. I use Swiss the most, as it is the most versatile, and easiest to make. I will include a recipe towards the end, but honestly, you don’t need one. Today i will introduce you to your first ratio. 2:1, sugar:egg whites. That’s it, two parts sugar to one part egg whites. It’s the same for all three types, only the procedure changes.
Meringue based desserts are likely the most cost effective item you can have on a menu. 500 grams of sugar, and 250 ml of egg whites, will produce a large amount of meringue! If there is one item that always seems to be hanging around waiting to be used, it’s egg whites. Other than egg white omelet’s, consomme and mousseline…there really isn’t much more you can do with them. MERINGUE BASED DESSERTS.
So, without further ado, follow along with my recipe and I’ll provide some plating tips at the end!
If you find this recipe to large, just half everything. I’d also like to mention that as a subscribed student in my basic culinary and pastry program you can get a copy of mastercook for $30, as apposed to the retail price of $200.
To finish things up with the plated dessert, I have a few classical and modern garnish suggestions…you will have to research these on your own.
- Caramel sauce
- Spun sugar or sugar decor
- Fruit coulis (sauce)
- Fresh seasonal berries, citrus and tropical fruits. Something acidic to contrast the sweetness.
- Toasted almonds, hazelnuts or coconut
- Natural reductions like beet, pomegranate or again citrus. Adds color and flavor contrast
Like all plated desserts, there needs to be a good balance of flavor, texture and visual appeal. This is a very simple recipe, that requires some practice due to the fickleness of meringue production. Simple in the sense that there are less than 6 ingredients for the whole recipe. The type of meringue used above is French, or basic meringue that requires no initial heat, unlike Swiss and Italian. Cheers, enjoy your first week of 2022. Check back later this week for the next installment!