A fancy egg-based French dessert made popular in America by Julia Child. Serve it in retro dishes for a fun presentation.
½ cup white sugar, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Separate the eggs. Set the egg yolks aside while you make the meringues.
In a saucepan, combine the milk with the vanilla. Place on low heat.
Beat the egg whites on high speed, gradually adding ¼ cup of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form and meringue is shiny.
Turn up the heat under the milk saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Divide the meringue roughly into two potions, dropping each on top of the simmering milk. Poach the meringues for 5 minutes, then gently turn them over and poach the other side. Remove from milk and set aside to cool. Pour the milk into a bowl or cup and set aside. Rinse the saucepan with cold water to cool it off.
In the cooled saucepan, whisk the 3 egg yolks, with 1/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt, until well blended and smooth. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes. When the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove it from the heat. If your egg yolks have curdled at all, pour the custard through a strainer. Stir in vanilla extract. Cool and refrigerate.
To serve, pour the chilled custard into a serving dish. Place the meringues on top of the custard to make islands. Garnish with caramel, chocolate sauce, or whatever your heart desires. Enjoy!