This unique recipe from classical French desserts, called, "Oeufs a la Neige" translates to "Eggs in the snow"..this "custard" is very ingenious and one that has also entered the traditional American culinary menu.
This is a challenging recipe- but do not be intimidated by it..once you start you will find it very easy-I know the instructions are lengthly but should be easy to follow.
Bring 2 cups of the milk to a boil, then remove from heat. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, add to milk, cover and steep for about 15 minutes.
Beat the egg yolks and slowly sprinkle in 1/3 cup of the sugar. Continue beating until thick and pale yellow in color.
Remove bean from milk. Scrape seed from bean and add to milk, discard pod. Pour milk, in a fine stream into egg yolks while beating them continuously. Pour mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring until it forms a custard thick enough to coat the back of a silver spoon , about 20 minutes; please do not rush the process or the eggs will scramble. Pour custard through a strainer( in case some egg did scramble) and into a shallow serving dish. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.
Beat 4 of the egg whites, until foamy, then add 1/3 cup of the sugar very slowly, continuing to beat until egg whites are shiny and stiff, but not dry.(freeze the other 2 egg whites for another use).
Put remaining 2 cups of milk in a large shallow pan and bring to a low simmer.Using a large slotted spoon, form big egg shapes of the whipped egg whites and poach them in the milk for 30 seconds on each side. Do not over cook. Put the "egg shapes" on a clean towel to drain.
Combine the remaining 2/3 cup sugar with 1/3 cup of water in a small heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar caramelizes, turns amber in color. Remove pan from heat to prevent caramel from burning. This can happen in an instant, so it is best to take the pan from the heat just before the sugar darkens, because it will continue cooking. Cool for 5 minutes or until the caramel forms into threads when drizzled from the tines of a fork.
Using a slotted spoon, carefully arrange the "egg" shapes on top of the custard. Dip a fork into the slightly cooled caramel- you will have to work quickly- and wave the fork over the dessert to form threads of caramel that crisscross and tangle. Serve immediately..
This will be challenging recipe I hope some of you make this beautiful dessert..I know you can do it!