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Floating Islands

This is a pretty dessert with the contrasting but complementary tastes and textures of custard, meringue and crunchy caramel.

ingredients

serves 4
3 egg yolks
2 oz (50 g) caster sugar
10 fl oz (300 ml ) milk
few drops of vanilla essence

meringue:

3 egg whites
6 oz (175 g) caster sugar
rice paper
Caramel:
1 lb (450 g) caster sugar
5 fl oz (150 ml) water

method

1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together until thick and light.

2. Heat milk until boiling, pour gradually on to eggs, whisking constantly. Return to pan and cook very gently, stirring until custard coats back of spoon. Do not allow to boil. Add vanilla essence, strain. Divide between four small dessert dishes. Chill.

3. Cut 16 1 1/2 inch (3.5 cm) diameter circles from rice paper. Whisk egg whites until stiff, gradually whisk in the sugar, until the meringue is very stiff and glossy.

4. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe rosettes on to rice paper. Half fill a large frying pan with water. Bring water to the boil, then turn down heat.

5. Place piped rosettes in water and poach for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain and place on custard.

6. Dissolve sugar in the water over medium heat, bring to boil and boil until caramel coloured. Spoon most of the caramel over the meringues.

7. To finish the dessert, use a fork to pull threads of caramel from the pan. Decorate the meringues with these strands of caramel.

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