Oeufs A La Neige
|For custard sauce|
|1% milk||1 1⁄2 Cup (24 tbs)|
|Vanilla bean||1⁄2 , split lengthwise|
|Orange zest strip||1|
|1% milk||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Egg whites||4 Large|
|Sugar||1 Cup (16 tbs) (Preferably Superfine)|
|Pure vanilla extract||1⁄2 Teaspoon|
|For caramel & fruit garnish|
|Sugar||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Strawberries/Raspberries||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
To make custard sauce: Pour milk into a heavy saucepan, add vanilla bean and orange zest.
Scald the milk and remove from the heat.
Cover and set aside to steep for 10 minutes.
Scald the milk once again.
In a mixing bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth but not frothy; gradually whisk a little of the hot milk into the egg mixture.
Pour all of the egg mixture into the hot milk.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the custard thickens slightly.
(When you run your finger across the back of the spoon, you should leave a clean trail.) Do not boil.
Immediately strain the custard into a clean bowl.
Scrape seeds from the vanilla bean and stir them into the custard.
Refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until chilled.
To make meringues: Pour milk into a deep wide skillet.
Add enough water to come to a depth of about 2 inches and bring to a simmer.
In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks; gradually beat in sugar and continue beating until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
Blend in vanilla.
With 2 soup spoons that have been dipped in cold water, form half of the meringue into 3 large puffs and gently drop them into the simmering liquid.
Poach for 8 minutes, gently turn them over with 2 slotted spoons and poach the second sides for about 4 minutes, or until firm.
With a slotted spoon, lift the meringues from the liquid and drain briefly on a kitchen towel.
Repeat with the remaining meringue.
Pour the custard sauce into a shallow serving dish.
Arrange meringues over top.
(The meringues can be prepared ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.) To make caramel: In a small heavy saucepan, combine sugar and 1/4 cup water.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the syrup turns amber.
Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes.
Drizzle the caramel over the meringues and custard.
Garnish with berries.