Thursday, August 16, 2012

Julia's Floating Island

Is there nothing more elegant than an ile flottante or floating island dessert?it's a delicate combination of a sweet liquidy custard dotted with meringue puffs. When  it's Julia Child's recipe it's even more special  with a certain Gallic twist to it. It's not only classic but delicious too.
Madame Child's recipe was the subject of A Good Appetite's column in yesterday's New York Times. Melissa Clark gives an homage to her childhood favorite that her parents, huge Julia Child affectionadoess made. As a child it was one of her favorite desserts. An ile flottante is a syrupy kind of custard dotted with mergingue puffs, hence the name floating island.It is the perfect dessert to make not only to impress people (]it's up there with Cherries Jubilee)  but also to finish off a nice roast with the trimmings.You can make it during any time of can end a summer soiree as easily as in a holiday meal.

Since it is a Julia Child recipe , it is a labor intensive one.Floating island requires meringues to be mad which are not always easy. It's a two day prep with a cooling process of one day. The custard for it can be too sweet so Ms. Clark  added apricots to give it the appropriate tartness.It does require one half cup of sugar to balance out the milk and four egg yolks used..You can make it without the fruit or add another kind such as blueberries or cherries. You can also leave it plain as well. However since the meringue is also super sweet , the dessert should have some bite.

Julia Child' s legacy continues to new generations of chefs and home cooks. Her desserts are as elegant now as they were during the Fifties  and Sixties. Iles flottante is evidence of that  of what she gave us   delicate French cooking made for American tastes.

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