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Saugatuck, Michigan



"I dream about one ... real ... peach"   --- Shel Silverstein

"Life is better because it has fresh peaches in it." --- Alice Walker


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Floating Island on a Creamy Peach Sea

During the days surrounding Julia Child’s 100th birthday, I was reminded of this light and cool dessert that finishes a meal in classic French elegance. It is an island of soft meringue rising from a pale custard sea. It is quite heavenly and very easy to make. You simply beat the egg whites with sugar until they thicken into a snowy mass and then bake. The Crème Anglaise is a chilled light custard I've jolted with a fresh peach puree and Peach Brandy. Quite lovely. Serves 6-8.

The meringue:
1½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
8 egg whites, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted and pulverized in a blender

For the Peach Crème Anglaise:
1½ cups milk
4 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 medium peaches, ripened, peeled, pitted, roughly chopped and pureed (appox. 1 cup)
3 tablespoons Peach Brandy (optional)

Preheat the oven to 250 °F. Butter the inside of a 2-quart soufflé dish or baking dish at least 3½ inches deep. Use 2 tablespoons sugar to coat the butter, knocking out the excess.

1. Using a mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites until frothy. Add salt and cream of tartar, increase speed to fast and continue to beat until whites hold soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar one tablespoon at a time and beat until the whites form stiff peaks. Beat in vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the ground almonds.

2. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish and smooth the top. It will overfill the dish ¼ inch. Do not press mixture down. Bake until the meringue has risen about ½ inch and is lightly colored, 30-40 minutes. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerated for at least an hour. It will settle.

3. Meanwhile prepare the Crème Anglaise by putting the milk into a medium heavy saucepan and bringing it to a simmer. In a bowl, vigorously whisk together yolks, sugar and salt until pale yellow and thick. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in half of the hot milk (don’t stop or you’ll curdle the eggs.) Pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the milk and gently cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly . When mixture starts to thicken enough to coat a wooden spoon, about 5-7 minutes, add the peach puree and cook for 3 minutes longer, continuing to stir. Add the brandy and cook one minute more. Transfer to a bowl and chill for at least an hour until serving.

4. When serving, run a knife around the sides of the meringue to loosen it and unmold onto a large platter or large shallow bowl. The caramelized sugar syrup that has formed will run down the sides of the meringue. Pour the peach cream around the meringue. Serve garnished with toasted sliced almonds and peaches, if you wish.



The Inn

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Julee and Bill

Wickwood Inn   |    510 Butler Street P.O. Box 1019   |   Saugatuck, MI 49453
Tel (800) 385-1174   |  www.wickwoodinn.com  |    Bill and Julee Rosso Miller, Proprietors