Floating Islands Dusted with Cocoa

Floating Islands Dusted with Cocoa

 

Floating Islands make a  lovely light dessert where poached meringues float on a creamy crème anglaise and are dusted with cocoa powder.

 

Floating Islands Dusted with Cocoa
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the crème anglaise
  • 200ml/7 fl oz milk
  • 200ml/7 fl oz double cream/whipping cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only (reserve 3 egg whites for the meringue)
  • 85g/3 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar

  • For the meringues
  • 3 eggs, whites only
  • 85g/3 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar

  • To serve
  • cocoa powder for dusting

  • Equipment
  • deep sided sauté pan with lid


  1. Method
  2. For the poaching liquid
  3. This will become the crème anglaise. Pour the milk and cream into the pan and stir in the vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Bring to a simmer over a low heat. Now make the meringue.


  4. For the meringues
  5. In a large grease-free bowl, using an electric hand whisk on fast speed, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form (or use the whisk attachment on a food mixer). Then gradually whisk in the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is stiff and glossy. 


  6. Have a glass or jug of water to hand. Using two tablespoons, shape eggs from the meringue mixture, dipping the spoons in the water to help shape them and keep them smooth. Place the meringue eggs in the poaching liquid as you go. There should be enough meringue to make 8 eggs. Cover the pan and, over a very low heat, poach the meringue eggs for about 4–5 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. Make sure the poaching liquid doesn’t boil or the meringues will puff up and then collapse. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a wire rack covered with paper towel to drain. 


  7. For the crème anglaise
  8. Strain the poaching liquid through a sieve into a large jug. 


  9. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and fluffy, about 2–3 minutes. Pour over the warm poaching liquid, whisking continuously. Then pour the mixture into a clean heavy-based pan and cook over a very low heat for 3–4 minutes, stirring continuously, until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.

  10. To serve
  11. Divide the crème anglaise between each serving bowl and then float two meringue eggs on top of each one. Decorate the eggs with a dusting of cocoa powder.

 

Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska

 

Individual servings of the Baked Alaska. Mini sponge flans are topped with raspberry jam and creamy ice cream, covered in a soft meringue, then quickly baked to set the meringue but leaving the ice cream frozen inside.

 

Baked Alaska
Prepares: 4 individual servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Freezing time: overnight
  • Cooking time: 3–5 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 mini sponge flans
  • 4 tbsp raspberry conserve or good quality raspberry jam
  • 250ml good quality ice-cream, raspberry or strawberry (4 good scoops)
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 115g (4 oz) caster/white sugar (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 28g (1 oz) flaked almonds (⅜ cup)


  1. Method
  2. Remove the ice cream from the fridge to let it soften a little, about 10 minutes.

  3. Fill each sponge flan with 1 tablespoon of jam and level the top. Then, using an ice cream scoop, top with one good scoop of ice cream. Return to the freezer for at least one hour.

  4. Whisk the egg whites with an electric hand whisk or food mixer until stiff. Sprinkle over the cream of tartar then whisk in the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is stiff and shiny. Divide between the four sponges, completely covering the sponge and ice cream. Drawing upwards with the tip of a knife, make little swirls over the meringues. Freeze overnight.

  5. Preheat the oven to 230°C (450°F) (gas 8)

  6. Scatter the almonds over the meringues, then bake for 3–5 minutes until the meringue just starts to brown. Serve immediately.

  7. Tip
  8. The prepared Alaskas can be left frozen for up to one month. Bake in the oven as directed above but leave for 15 minutes before serving.

 

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

 

This lemon meringue pie is a true family favourite and was one of the first pies I ever baked. The filling is very easy to make from scratch. It gives a mixture that is both creamy and full of zingy lemon flavour to complement the sweetness of the meringue on top.

 

Lemon Meringue Pie
Prepares: 4–6 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 45 minutes
  • Standing time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: About 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the shortcrust pastry
  • 170g/6 oz plain flour/cake and pastry flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 40g/1½ oz butter, cut into cubes
  • 40g/1½ oz lard, cut into cubes
  • about 2 tbsp cold water

  • For the filling
  • 3 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 150ml/5 fl oz water
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 110g/4 oz granulated sugar/white sugar
  • 2 egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)

  • For the meringue
  • 2 egg whites
  • 110g/4 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar

  • Equipment
  • 18cm/7 inch flan case or deep pie plate


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

  3. For the pastry
  4. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs This can be done by hand or in a food processor. Sprinkle the water evenly over the surface (if it is not evenly sprinkled it can cause blistering when the pastry is cooked). Stir in with a pallet knife until the mixture begins to stick together in large lumps. With one hand, bring the pastry together and lightly knead to give a firm, smooth dough, about 30 seconds.Allow the pastry to rest for 20 minutes.

  5. Roll out the pastry onto a floured surface to a thickness of ¼ inch and use it to line the flan case, being careful not to pull or stretch the pastry. Trim the edges and bake blind for 15 minutes.

  6. Carefully remove the paper and baking beans and return the case to the oven for a further 5 minutes. Then set aside.

  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

  8. For the filling
  9. Meanwhile, mix the cornflour with the water in a saucepan. Stir in the zest and juice of the lemons. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring until the mixture thickens, then add the sugar. Remove from the heat, cool the mixture slightly then beat in the egg yolks. Set aside.

  10. For the meringue
  11. Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gradually add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.

  12. The pastry case can either be left in the flan case or carefully removed and put on a baking tray. Pour in the lemon filling and then pile the meringue on top, pulling the meringue up into peaks using the tip of a knife. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the meringue is crisp and lightly browned.

 

Floating Islands with Spun Sugar

Floating Islands with Spun Sugar

 

I saw Mary Berry create this recipe for floating islands on the Great British Bake Off Masterclass this year. I have always sprinkled cocoa powder over the meringue eggs (see here) but would certainly recommend this for a change.

 

Floating Islands with Spun Sugar
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the crème anglaise
  • 200ml/7 fl oz full fat milk/whole milk
  • 200ml/7 fl oz double cream/whipping cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla essence
  • 
4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only (reserving 3 egg whites for the meringue)
  • 85g/3 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar

  • For the meringues
  • 3 eggs, whites only
  • 85g/3 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar

  • For the spun sugar
  • 110g/4 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar

  • Equipment
  • A deep sided sauté or frying pan with lid


  1. Method
  2. For the spun sugar
  3. Melt the sugar, without stirring, in a small stainless steel pan over a medium heat. Cover a rolling pin with parchment. Take care as the sugar will be very hot. When it turns a dark golden-brown remove from the heat. Leave to cool slightly, about 30 seconds, then, using the back of a fork or a whisk, quickly flick the caramel backwards and forward over the rolling pin. Gather the strands into rough ball shape while gently pulling upwards and place on a sheet of parchment paper.

  4. For the poaching liquid
  5. This will become the crème anglaise. Heat the milk and cream in the pan. Stir in the vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence and bring to a simmer over a low heat. Now make the meringue.


  6. For the meringues
  7. In a large grease-free bowl using an electric hand whisk on fast speed, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form (or use the whisk attachment on a food mixer). Now gradually whisk in the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is stiff and glossy. 


  8. Have a glass or jug of water to hand. Using two large tablespoons or serving spoons, shape large eggs from the meringue mixture, dipping the spoons in the water to help shape them and keep them smooth. The meringue should make 4 very large eggs. Place the meringue eggs in the poaching liquid as you go. Cover the pan and over a very low heat poach the meringue eggs for about 8–9 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Make sure the poaching liquid doesn’t boil or the meringues will puff up and then collapse. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a wire rack covered with paper towel to drain. 


  9. For the crème anglaise
  10. Strain the poaching milk through a sieve into a large jug. 


  11. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and fluffy, about 2–3 minutes. Pour over the warm poaching milk, whisking continuously. Then pour the mixture into a clean heavy-based pan and cook over a very low heat for 3–4 minutes, stirring continuously, until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.

  12. To serve
  13. Divide the crème anglaise between each serving bowl and then float a meringue egg on top. Decorate with a ball of spun sugar.

Iced Lemon Meringue

Iced Lemon MeringueIced Lemon Meringue

 

Iced lemon meringue is a light refreshing dessert for a special occasion, which can be made ahead of time. Layers of frozen meringue and creamy lemon filling topped with raspberries and coulis.

 

Iced Lemon Meringue
Prepares: 8 good portions
 
  • Preparation time: About 45 minutes
  • Standing time: 45 minutes, plus freezing time
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 35 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the meringues
  • 4 egg whites, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only – you will need the yolks for the filling
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 110g/4 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • 110g/4 oz light muscovado sugar/yellow sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch, sifted
  • ½ tsp almond essence
  • 25g/1 oz flaked almonds

  • For the lemon filling
  • 2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch, sifted
  • 4 egg yolks, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
  • 110g/4 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 115ml/4 fl oz milk
  • 284ml carton double cream/whipping cream

  • For the raspberry coulis
  • 200g/7 oz frozen raspberries
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar


  1. Method
  2. For the meringue
  3. Preheat the oven to 140°C/120° fan assisted/275°F/gas mark 1

  4. Draw three rectangles, 25.5 × 10cm/10 × 4 in, on baking parchment. Cut round each, leaving a 10cm/4 in border. Turn the paper over and put each piece on a baking sheet.

  5. Measure out the two sugars and mix together. Set aside. Whisk the egg whites until the mixture stands in soft peaks. Add the lemon juice and whisk until stiff. Add the sugars, 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to whisk until the mixture is glossy and stands in soft peaks.

  6. Beat in 1 tablespoon boiling water, then fold in the cornflour and almond essence.

  7. Use a little of the meringue mixture to dab between the corners of the parchment paper and baking sheet to prevent the paper slipping. Then divide the mixture evenly between the parchment rectangles and lift into peaks with a metal spoon.

  8. Put 1 level tablespoon of the flaked almonds to one side and sprinkle the rest evenly over the meringues.

  9. Bake for 20 minutes and then turn the oven down to 110°C/90°C fan assisted/225°F/gas mark ¼ and bake for a further 1 hour 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave for 45 minutes to dry out.

  10. For the lemon filling
  11. Mix the cornflour with 1 tablespoon water. Then stir in the egg yolks, sugar, lemon and lime zest and juice until combined. Bring the milk to the boil, gradually stir into the cornflour mixture. Return to the pan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring constantly, until it is very thick. Tip into a bowl, cover with cling film, and leave to cool.

  12. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Once the lemon filling is cool, carefully fold it in until well incorporated.

  13. To assemble
  14. Lift the meringues off the parchment and sandwich the layers together with the filling. Put on a baking sheet and open freeze until firm. If making ahead of time, place the baking tray in a freezer proof bag at this stage.

  15. For the raspberry coulis
  16. Reserve eight of the raspberries and put the rest into a pan with the icing sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Heat gently for about 5 minutes until the raspberries have defrosted. Cool a little, then push through a sieve to make a smooth sauce. Set aside.

  17. The dessert can be made ahead of time up to this stage.

  18. To serve
  19. Toast the reserved flaked almonds by heating a pan over a medium heat and then toss the almonds into it. Move them around until they have turned a golden colour, about 5 minutes. Watch them carefully as they can burn very quickly.

  20. Put the meringue into the fridge for 30 minutes to soften a little. Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the meringue with the eight reserved raspberries. Slice and serve with a swirl of the raspberry coulis.

 

Coffee and Hazelnut Swirls

Coffee and Hazelnut Swirls

 

A very light meringue dessert, with chocolate and cream, that tastes heavenly. This is really easy to make and looks impressive.

 

Coffee and Hazelnut Swirls
Prepares: 12 meringues
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only
  • 170g/6 oz caster sugar/fine white sugar
  • 1 tbsp coffee essence
  • 3 tbsp hazelnuts, finely chopped (or walnuts)

  • For the filling
  • 70g/2½ oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 20g/¾ oz butter
  • 300ml/10 fl oz double cream/whipping cream

  • To serve
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder (optional)


  1. Method
  2. For the meringue
  3. Preheat oven to a cool setting, 140°C/275°F/gas mark 1

  4. Toast the hazelnuts by heating in a pan over a medium heat until just turning colour and you can smell the nuts. Watch them carefully as they can burn very quickly. Set aside to cool.

  5. Whisk the egg whites until just stiff. Slowly add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition. Add the coffee essence until well incorporated. The meringue should now be stiff and glossy.

  6. Carefully fold in the nuts.

  7. Line two baking sheets with baking paper. Dabbing a little meringue mixture on the corners of the baking sheets holds the lining in place. Swirl spoonfuls of meringue onto the paper. The mixture will make approximately 24 meringues (you want an even number). Do not try piping the meringue as the nuts will clog the tip! Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes until the meringues are dry. Allow to cool then remove from the paper.

  8. For the filling
  9. Melt the butter slowly with half the chocolate. Remove from the heat and add the rest of the chocolate, stirring until it has melted. Beat with a wooden spoon and when it is smooth, coat the flat surface of 12 meringues.

  10. Whip the cream until stiff and spread it to sandwich a chocolate coated meringue and a plain meringue.

  11. To serve
  12. Cocoa powder can be sifted lightly over the top of each meringue to decorate. Using a tea strainer or small sieve makes this really easy.