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Hungarian Floating Island – Madártej
Julia Child’s favorite dessert, fluffy egg white clouds floating over a perfect crème anglaise (vanilla custard). Smooth and silky, it is the best once it is cooled and the cream settles and thickens properly.
This is a classic European dessert of French origin called “Oeufs a la neige” in French (eggs in the snow) or ” île flottante” (floating island), in Hungarian is called Madartej (Bird’s Milk). Nice and very popular among kids (and grown-up kids). It is easy to prepare, light and extremely delicious.
It is a good thing to know that it requires simple ingredients that are easily available at home – eggs, milk, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract or vanilla pod. This dessert is without flour.
If made right, the island should be firm and light and the milk should have a consistency of light cream and have a scent of vanilla.
How to make the perfect meringues?
First trick, do not overbeat the egg white, beat until stiff peaks form, you are done when that peak stays up once you pull the beater out of it.
When you place the egg white dumplings in the hot milk, do not overcrowd them, cook only 4 or maximum 5 at a time. The will puff up and will not have enough place if you place too many egy white clouds.
Do not boil the milk and make it too hot. If it happens, you overcook the egg whites, they will gave a light brown color, shrinks and be flat, not fluffy at all.
How to serve the Floating island dessert?
Serve chilled and beautiful serving bowls. A cold water bath is an easy way to cool down custard fast. Instead of chilling in the fridge for several hours, a cold water bath will get the custard cool to lukewarm in about 10 minutes. After that you can put it in the fridge.
When you serve, sprinkle the egg white clouds with lemon zest. Do not do it earlier because the zest colors the egg white and will not be pretty if it stays like that for hours.