Oeuf à la neige – also known as floating island or île flottante – is a French dessert of poached or steamed meringue served 'floating' in a pool of creamy anglaise custard. While it is often served with caramel, Graham Hornigold's floating island recipe opts for a combination of fruity flavours to breathe new life into this sweet dessert. The anglaise is given a citrus kick with lemon and lime juice, while chunks of mango and strawberry – compressed in a vacuum to produce a wholly unique texture – bring both colour and zesty flavour to the plate.
Graham Hornigold’s expert pastry skills have been refined in some of the best restaurants and hotels in London. As Executive Pastry Chef of Hakkasan Group, he brings a delicate, refreshing touch to their restaurants’ dessert menus.
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The day before serving, prepare the compressed fruit. Slice the strawberries in half and place in a vacuum bag with the orange zest. Peel the mango and chop into cubes, placing in a separate bag with the lime zest. Lightly vacuum both bags to compress and leave in the fridge overnight
300g of strawberries, hulled
1 orange, zest only
1 lime, zest only
For the confit citrus, carefully peel the lemon and lime halves, reserving the juice from each for the citrus anglaise. Slice the peel into fine julienne and blanch in boiling water, refreshing immediately in cold water. Repeat this process, blanching and refreshing the peel, using fresh water each time
Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan, heating gently to form a syrup. Add the peel to the pan and poach lightly until translucent. Remove from the syrup and set aside to cool and dry
100g of water
100g of sugar
For the meringue, place the egg whites and scraped vanilla seeds in a stand mixer and whisk on a low speed for 20 minutes, gradually adding the sugar and glucose, until the mixture forms a smooth, shiny meringue
250g of egg white
1 vanilla pod, scraped
75g of glucose
75g of caster sugar
Meanwhile, prepare the citrus anglaise. Whisk the egg yolk and sugar together in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a large pan, bring the milk and cream to a simmer, then remove from the heat and pour the hot cream over the egg mixture
150g of egg yolk
65g of sugar
250ml of whipping cream
250ml of whole milk
Stir to combine the cream and egg mixtures, returning the anglaise to the pan along with the almond flakes. Over a medium-low heat, gently cook out the anglaise until it reaches 83°C, then remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve into a clean bowl
125g of flaked almonds, roasted until brown
Chill the bowl of anglaise over ice, allowing to cool completely. Once chilled, stir through the citrus juice and zest (including the reserved juice from the confit citrus) – adding the citrus before the anglaise has cooled completely could lead to discolouration
1/2 lime, zest and juice
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1
Once the meringue ingredients have been fully incorporated and the mixture is glossy and firm, carefully transfer the meringue to a piping bag. Arrange 10 ring moulds across a steamer tray and brush or spray lightly with sunflower oil
Using a circular motion, pipe the meringue neatly inside the moulds. Fill another try (of similar size to the steam tray) with water and place the steam tray on top. Wrap the two trays in tin foil to hold them in place and bake in the oven for 7–8 minutes
Once cooked, remove the tin foil and allow to cool a little. Carefully ease the meringues from their moulds ready to serve
To serve, fill the centre of a deep plate or shallow bowl with citrus anglaise and top with a steamed meringue. Remove the compressed mango and strawberries from their bags and scatter around the plate, garnishing with a few pieces of confit citrus
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