Orange Floating Islands
For the custard:
- 1 orange
- 2 cups milk
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
For the meringues:
- 4 egg whites
- 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Unsweetened cocoa for sprinkling
- Ground cinnamon for sprinkling
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk until small bubbles appear along the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat. In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk until light, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the cream and orange zest. Then gradually whisk in the hot milk until well blended.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook. To test, draw a finger across the back of the spoon; it should leave a path. Immediately transfer the custard to a shallow serving bowl, let cool a little, then cover and refrigerate.
To make the meringues, in a large sauté pan or deep fry pan, pour in water to a depth of 1 inch and bring to a bare simmer over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, in a large, clean, dry bowl, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Using a balloon whisk, beat until stiff peaks begin to form. While continuing to whisk, gradually add about half of the sugar, a little at a time, until the whites are glossy and stand in peaks. Using a large spoon, fold in the remaining sugar, a little at a time. The meringue should remain glossy and stand in peaks.
Cover the bottom of a baking pan with paper towels. Using a serving spoon and forming one at a time, scoop up oval mounds of meringue and float them in the simmering water. Poach, turning once, about 45 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meringues to the prepared pan to drain. Repeat with the remaining meringue. Transfer to a plate, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
To serve, spoon the custard into shallow dessert bowls or deep dessert plates and float 2 or 3 meringues on each custard. Sprinkle each meringue with a little cocoa and cinnamon and serve.