Salzburg Nockerel with Vanilla Sauce
This is a welcome variation on the classic floating island. The baked meringues have an appealing texture and appearance, and the custard sauce is velvety and rich.
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 4 cups
- Egg Yolks - 4
- Sugar - 4 tablespoons
- Almond Extract - 1 teaspoon
- Egg Whites - 4, at room temperature
- Sugar - 3 tablespoons
- Vanilla Extract - 1/2 teaspoon
- Grated Lemon Zest - 1/2 teaspoon
- Egg Yolks - 3, beaten
- Flour or Cornstarch - 1 tablespoon
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Milk or Light Cream - 2 tablespoons
To make the custard: Heat the heavy cream to boiling in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Beat the yolks with the sugar and almond extract until thick and lemon-colored. Whisking constantly, beat in about half of the cream, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat or in the top of a double boiler until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow it to boil or the egg yolks with curdle. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
To make the souffles: Preheat the oven to 450 F. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Increase the speed to high and slowly add the sugar. Beat until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and grated lemon zest to the egg yolks, then fold the yolks into the whites. Sift the flour or cornstarch over the mixture and fold in quickly.
Heat the butter and milk or light cream in a baking dish. Divide the meringue mixture into 4 ovals, place on the butter and cream, and bake in the center of the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until lightly browned.
To serve: Rewarm the custard over very low heat if necessary. Spoon custard sauce in the bottom of four shallow bowls or plates and place one meringue in each.
Note: The custard may be made up to 4 hours in advance and kept at room temperature; rewarm over low heat. Do not make the meringues in advance.