It’s hard to say how long I would have owned Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook before eventually trying these floating islands. First off, they look like they’d take a lot of work. Second, they’re very eggy. Third, they look a bit like something you’d see on a B-movie about aliens who populate the earth with pod-like beings. [This is obviously an eye of the beholder situation. I asked my husband what he thought the floating island looked like and he said "an iceberg wrapped in fine gold threads." Okay, then!] I do think they’re beautiful, in an other-worldly kind of way.
In any event, Shari of Whisk chose this dessert and I dutifully set about making it. After quickly reviewing the recipe, I started to see the error of my ways. I love vanilla crème anglaise. I love caramel. That’s 66.6% of the dish right there.
But still, there were those islands. I like meringue, but I don’t get overly excited about meringue, mostly because it’s occasionally just frothy enough to seem like whipped egg whites. Which, of course, it is. But I don’t want to eat whipped egg whites unless they’ve altered their character substantially enough that they seem like something else entirely.
Anyway, this isn’t about me. It’s about the floating islands. The vanilla creme anglaise at the base is delicious. The strands of hardened caramel cascading across the top are irresistible. The caramel provides a crème brulée-like quality to the dish, and who among us can resist crème brulée? Beware: It’s possible to crack your teeth trying to gnaw that hardened caramel off a spoon during clean-up. But the floating island at the center, even with the sugar whipped in, tasted just a bit too much like a poached egg for me to be entirely happy.
I had some World Peace cookie dough still in the freezer and decided to try Floating World Peace Islands, just in case this combination could push World Peace into the next dimension. Universal peace. But the crème anglaise and the cookies weren’t really meant for each other. I’ll have to keep searching….