Modern Floating Islands, served at Et Voila! in the Palisades. (Renee Comet for The Washington Post; styling by Bonnie S. Benwick)

Eaten any clouds lately? That’s what it’s like to dive into floating islands, the gently cooked meringues surrounded by vanilla custard sauce.

Claudio Pirollo learned how to make them the classic French way, as a cook’s apprentice in Belgium at age 16. But at his Et Voila! in the Palisades, the chef has reengineered the recipe to make it more restaurant-kitchen efficient, and in doing so, he’s done the world a favor. Instead of poaching the islands in milk, he steams them briefly in the oven. Piped into ring molds, they become modern structures that he finishes a la brulee.

Make them for a dinner party, up to 2 days in advance. Your guests will be impressed, and you’ll be floating on air.

>> Recipe: Floating Islands (Iles Flottantes)

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