Everybody deserves a little sweet self indulgence once in a while, and what better way to round off a meal than with a delicious French dessert?
This is a simple microwave version of the classic French dessert, also called Oeufs à la Neige. The sauce and egg whites can be made a few hours in advance, but the caramel must be made at the last-minute.
6 egg whites
3 tbsp icing sugar
flaked almonds, to serve
500ml full-fat milk (or half milk, half single cream)
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
5 large egg yolks
75g caster sugar
100g caster sugar
freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. To make the custard sauce, put the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
2. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl and whisk until slightly thickened and pale yellow. Gradually stir the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, then return all to the saucepan set over very low heat. Continue stirring until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 2-3 minutes. Do not let it boil or it will curdle. Remove from the heat and let it cool.
3. Put the egg whites and icing sugar in a bowl and beat until stiff. Divide the whites between 6 small, microwave-proof ramekins in the middle of the microwave, making sure the dishes touch in the middle of the oven. Cook on LOW for 30 seconds. Check, and then repeat for 30 seconds more. The eggs will puff up like a soufflé. If they are not completely firm through, cook for a further 30 seconds. Repeat until all six ramekins are cooked. Prise the “islands” gently out of the ramekins.
4. When ready to serve, put 2-3 spoonfuls of custard sauce in each of six shallow soup plates. Put an egg white puff in the middle of each, then prepare the caramel.
5. Put the caster sugar, a squeeze of lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water in a heavy saucepan and cook, stirring, until it turns a light caramel colour. Trickle some caramel over each egg white puff and sprinkle with almonds. Serve at room temperature.