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Floating Islands

Yield 8 servings


  • 3 egg whites
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 cups half-and-half, divided
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup water

How to Make It

  1. Beat egg whites (at room temperature) until soft peaks form; gradually add 6 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in almond extract.

  2. Heat 3 cups half-and-half in a large skillet to simmering. Shape 8 egg white islands using two spoons; scoop beaten whites onto one spoon and gently place other spoon on top to shape each island. Gently slide the islands into simmering half-and-half. Cook each island two minutes on each side or until slightly firm. Remove islands, and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Reserve half-and- half.

  3. Place yolks in top of a double boiler; beat until thick and lemon colored. Add 2/3 cup sugar and salt, beating well; place over boiling water. Add remaining half-and-half to reserved half-and- half; stir into egg yolk mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Let mixture cool slightly, and stir in vanilla. Chill.

  4. Sprinkle remaining sugar evenly in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; place over medium heat. Caramelize sugar, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until light brown and melted. Remove from heat, and add water. Return to heat; cook slowly, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened.

  5. Spoon chilled custard into a serving bowl. Mound islands on top of custard; drizzle caramelized mixture over islands. Serve immediately.

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