Week 3 – Deserts

For the third week of competitive baking, the contestants were asked to make a trifle, floating islands and petit fours. I find it hard to get massively excited about trifle as its not my favourite thing to eat. Having said that though, the inventive trifles that were produced were quite inspiring. The technical challenge was Mary Berry’s recipe for floating islands desert. This is the bake that I decided to attempt for myself from this weeks episode. I have never eaten these and I saw MIchel Roux Jr. make them on TV a while ago. I intended to have a go at theat point but never got round to it so now I thought this would be the perfect chance.

I have no electric whisk or hand mixer type equipment so I have to hand whisk everything. For that reason and the fact that there were only three of us for dinner last night, I made a half quantity of this desert. This was more than enough for the three of us and we were all feeling rather over-stuffed when we finished but I’m glad I did it. The custard that is made from this recipe is the best custard I have ever tasted. It was so rich and velvety and I could have eaten a whole tub of it.

Merigue at the ready
Merigue at the ready

This recipe was really easy to follow and I had very little trouble with it although I will not be writing quenelling merigue as a skill on my CV any time soon. My only concern was how long to cook the ‘islands for.’ The recipe calls for 8-10 minutes which contradicts what a number of other blogs say. When I poached the meringue, the islands puffed up and were massive but by the time they came they had shrunk back down again. I didn’t leave it for any longer than the recipe suggested and the texture of the meringue was like a mousse. Did I overcook them?

Poaching the 'islands'
Poaching the ‘islands’

I don’t know how this desert is supposed to taste but it was a loss less sweet than I thought it was going to be. My main experience with meringe is that stuff that crumbles into pure sugar in your mouth. I really enjoyed it but my other half in his usual supportive way decided it tasted like wierdly sweet scrambled egg………….he’s so lovely.

Plated and ready to munch
Plated and ready to munch

I will make this desert again as it has a very satisfying comforting feel to it but I think the spun sugar/some caramel is important to balance the flavours.

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