This recipe is inspired by one of the most beautiful and simple desserts I've ever had, a classic Ile Flottante, at Le CasseNoix in Paris. In English, the dish is an island of poached meringue floating in a pool of vanilla creme anglaise. The same day my husband and I had this dessert in the evening, we'd visited Sadaharu Aoki, a patisserie using French technique and Japanese flavors, in the morning. This day of dessert nirvana inspired my gingery, green-tea additions to a classic French dessert. Enjoy! —Emily | Cinnamon&Citrus
2 - 4 (two massive le cassenoix style servings or 4 normal/modest servings)
Ginger Creme Anglaise
heavy cream, half and half, or full fat milk, depending on how rich you'd like your creme (I combine equal parts cream and 1% milk since we rarely have full fat milk at the house)
granulated sugar, divided
pinch of salt
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, skin left on, cut into rounds
Combine the cream, 1/4 cup sugar, ginger, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring just to a simmer. Take off the heat quickly (do not allow to come to a full boil), stir in the vanilla bean paste, and set aside to let the ginger steep into your milk mixture (I sometimes do this for up to an hour, I'd recommend a 15 minute minimum.)
Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk the 3 egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 C sugar and beat until pale yellow and fluffy.
Strain your milk mixture to remove the chunks of ginger and transfer back to saucepan. If you've let the ginger steep for longer than 20 minutes or so, you'll need to gently re-warm for a few minutes in the small saucepan over medium heat, but do not reach the point of simmering. Add a small amount of warm milk (about 1/2 cup) to the egg yolks to temper them, whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs. Once fully combined, add the egg mixture back to the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan, whisking constantly to combine. Cook over medium low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until slightly thickened and the creme coats the back of the spoon, about 3-5 minutes.
Pistachio Praline and Meringue Islands
For the Pistachio Praline:
Place your pistachios in a single layer on a baking sheet which has been lined with foil and lightly sprayed with cooking spray (or you can use a Silpat if you have one).
Bring the water and granulated sugar to a rolling, vigorous boil in a small saucepan. Refrain from stirring. When the mixture begins to turn amber around the edges, about 10 minutes, swirl gently to distribute the color. Add the matcha powder, remove from heat, and swirl to combine (it is ok to gently whisk off the heat at this point if your matcha is sticking and not distributing). Pour your sugar syrup over the pistachios on the prepared sheet pan and set aside to cool and harden, about 1 hour. Break apart once cool into small pieces.
For the Meringue Islands:
Using a stand mixer or an electric whisk, whip the egg whites, confectioner sugar, and salt on high speed until thick, shiny stiff peaks form (about 3 minutes).
Transfer the egg whites to 2, 4 inch round microwave safe ceramic ramekins (alternatively, I use a single rectangular shaped ceramic half pound loaf pan because I like squared off islands). Cook in the microwave on high for 30-45 seconds. Cool for at least 30 minutes and unmold.
Divide the creme anglaise evenly between two wide mouthed shallow bowls or dessert bowls. Top each with a meringue island and sprinkle the praline evenly over the top. Enjoy!