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Ouefs a la Neige (Snow Eggs)

This is a dessert that will be served at the 2002 Olympics. Tester's note: This was a lovely, unique dessert that we plan to make for the skating finals. Although you could sculpt 4 "Utah mountains," we made 8 "hills," using a slotted serving spoon to scoop meringue out of the mixing bowl. Our caramelized topping was a bit too hard. Don't let the sugar liquefy. We served this on small dessert plates, and used less creme anglaise than if served in bowls. (We left off the almond topping for two young children who also enjoyed it.) There was approximately a cup of creme anglaise left over. Leftover creme anglaise is delicious served on a warm bread pudding.

Poached Meringue:

1/2 cup clean, room temperature egg whites
1 cup sugar

Whip egg whites to a soft peak; this will coincide with a sudden white color.

Add sugar and continue to whip to stiff, glossy peaks.

Fill a large, wide pot with 2 inches of water (we used an electric skillet) and bring to a boil; turn off heat at this point.

Carefully spoon whites into hot water, creating an egg or oval shape.

Cover pot with a lid and allow to "steam" for approximately 5 to 10 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

Gently remove from water and place on a paper towel to drain.

Transfer onto a piece of parchment paper or greased wax paper.

Caramelized Almond Sugar Topping

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Pinch salt

Place sugar in a heavy bottomed saute pan or pot. Stir over a low to medium heat with a wooden spoon until sugar begins to melt. Carefully continue to stir until sugar turns an amber (golden) color.

Add sliced almonds and salt. Remove from heat and drizzle over the poached meringues.

Notes: Be very careful as caramelized sugar will easily burn. Do not touch sugar with your fingers! To clean pot/pan, fill with warm water and allow to boil; this will melt any remaining sugar.

Creme Anglaise (Stirred Custard Sauce)

1 1/2 cups light cream
1/3 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

Bring light cream and first 1/3 cup sugar to a boil.

Combine yolks and second 1/3 cup sugar in a stainless steel bowl, mix until smooth. Slowly add the warm light cream mixture to yolks, stirring slowly.

Return all ingredients to the pot and stir over low heat, using a wooden spoon, until thickened, and mixture coats the back of the spoon.

Note: Do not allow mixture to boil; this will scramble the eggs.

Strain into a bowl and add vanilla, refrigerate until use.

To serve: Pour creme anglaise into a shallow bowl. "Float" meringues on top of sauce. Garnish with fresh berries and mint, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

The meringue "mountains" may be kept on the counter for about 1/2 hour. Refrigerate, if serving time is longer. If refrigerated, use within 4 to 6 hours.

-- Andrea Carros Schrenk

Thursday, February 07, 2002

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