Meringue Eggs On Orange Custard Sauce (Oeufs à la Neige au Orange) is a cool, silky smooth dessert. With a zing of fresh orange, the cold custard beneath, and the cloud-like meringues floating on top, it reminds me of so many times I ordered this throughout France—in a quest to find the perfect one.
This is it. Trust me.
This recipe is from my new cookbook French Comfort Food. The dessert used to take a lot longer to make because of the delicate poaching of the meringues— until I learned the trick to speeding it up and not losing flavor or texture. You microwave the meringues instead of poaching them. This revelation was met with joy and lots of recipe tweaks until I got it just where I wanted it. I’m passing it on and hope you enjoy it. It would be fun and easy for the holidays!
MERINGUE EGGS ON ORANGE CUSTARD SAUCE
Oeufs à la Neige au Orange SERVES 4
One hot summer night in the late 1980s, we arrived at the restaurant Lameloise in Chagny, France, where our favorite chef, Jacques Lameloise presided. We were taken into a lounge area and were given huge menus to order from before being shown into the dining room. They also brought us glasses of Champagne and paper thin slices of saucisson, or salami. After looking over the elaborate dessert selections, I whispered to my husband that I wished I could just have a simple Oeufs à la Neige, and he replied that it wasn’t likely as it was a “ farmhouse dish.” We went into dinner, and after our main course, I ordered a chocolate tasting plate for dessert. After a few moments, Chef Jacques Lameloise appeared at my side offering me an overly large soup bowl with a smile, saying, “Your Oeufs à la Neige, Madame!” Touched to the core and with tears in my eyes, I thanked him profusely. How did he know? We never found out. My best guess is that it is the kind of magic that happens in a truly great restaurant, or it was perhaps a passing waiter that heard my lament?
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT LARGE SAUCEPAN; STAND MIXER OR ELECTRIC HAND MIXER; SMALL SAUCEPAN
8 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 cups (480 ml) milk
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
1 organic orange, juiced and zested
4 teaspoons (20 ml) pure orange extract
1⁄8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
1⁄2 cup (100 g) sugar
8 large egg whites, room temperature
1⁄4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 vanilla bean, scraped and seeds reserved
8 tablespoons (100 g) sugar
When you separate the eggs into yolks and whites, make sure there is not a speck of yolk in the whites. Fill a large bowl with water and ice cubes.
Using the large saucepan, pour in the milk, cream, 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) orange juice, orange extract, and vanilla and bring just to a boil. In a cup, mix together the flour with water and pour into the saucepan of milk. Whisk to combine, bring back to a boil, and then remove from the heat.
Using the mixer, beat the egg yolks for 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat for 30 seconds on medium, until eggs are pale yellow and thick.
Vigorously whisk 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture then pour the egg mix- ture into the saucepan of milk and whisk on low heat until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and dip the saucepan immediately into the bowl of ice water, stirring the custard until it has stopped cooking. Whisk in 1 tablespoon orange zest.
When cool, pour into individual serving bowls or one large serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap that touches the custard (to prevent a skin forming), and place in the refrigerator to chill until ready to use.
In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add in the scraped vanilla seeds and then sprinkle in the sugar, a little at a time while whipping, until the meringue become glossy and very stiff, about 4–9 minutes. You should be able to turn the bowl over and the meringue will not fall out. If you use a hand mixer rather than a stand mixer, the meringue will take longer to beat.
One by one, mound the meringue into egg shapes on a microwave-safe plate and cook on high for 10 seconds, or just until you see them puff up a bit like a soufflé. Repeat until all eggs are done then float them on the Crème Anglaise. Garnish with grated orange zest.
Hope you enjoy!!!!