Vanilla, Cardamom Snow Eggs — Oeufs à la neige, vanille et cardamome

snow eggs french

Vanilla, Cardamom Snow Eggs

OK, here’s the thing,” I told P. when he walked into the kitchen. I learned this expression from him; P. actually uses it all the time. “I want you to try to guess what is my most favorite dessert,” I went on. “I made it for us tonight.

We like to play silly games like this one. They amuse us, and that is plenty. When he plays music blind tests on me, I play food games with him.

He furrowed his eyebrows, and looked back at me. He was obviously thinking.

Crème brûlée?

Nope,” I replied with a confident open smile. At that point, I was convinced that I was going to win my improvised game. There are so many desserts that I like, or that I claim are my favorites, that P. had no chance to guess which one I was talking about.

Hmmm, euh, rice pudding.

I think that you are more thinking about what your favorite desserts are. Try harder. If you know me well, you should know better.

He paused. From the way his eyes shone — I cannot explain, you have to see it — I could tell that he really wanted to get it right.

His entire face lit up with a victorious smile. “Oh, I know! Des oeufs à la neige.

snow eggs vanilla cardamom

P. was right. Snow eggs rank pretty high on my list of favorites. And why wouldn’t they? They are uncomplicated, completely unpretentious, and scrumptious.

When I was only a young French girl already keen to experiment in the kitchen with pots and pans, I used to make snow eggs for my brother. I claimed that they were for him, but the truth was that I loved them just as much.

Snow eggs, and floating islands, are common desserts in French cuisine. They are often mistaken one for another, although purists will make sure to let you know about the difference. For the longest time, I did not know the subtle detail that makes each dessert unique, because in fact, they are extremely close in the concept.

Both desserts use a flavored custard (a crème anglaise) as the basis of the dessert — vanilla is common. The difference lies in the egg whites: they are poached in milk for snow eggs, and baked in a bain-marie for floating islands. Most of the time, a caramel sauce is also added on top. When I made pistachio floating islands, I even attempted — and made a mess — to prepare caramel threads. But even without the caramel, this simple dessert is a winner.

What flavor is the custard?” P. said with his mouth full. “I cannot really tell.

Comment cela ?” (how so?) I was quite annoyed that he actually missed it.

Cardamom, of course! Haven’t you noticed my thing for this spice these days?” I replied. I often like to infuse the milk with many more flavors, to create different versions of the same treat.

Then, perhaps if I had to call one dessert temptation, snow eggs would be it. Take my word for it.

Why would you resist a sweet treat so good, and so simple to make?

Vanilla, cardamom Snow Eggs

(For 4 people)

You need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced and seeds removed
  • 6 green cardamom pods, ground with a mortar
  • 1/2 cup minus 1 Tbsp blond cane sugar
  • Unsalted green pistachios, shelled and chopped coarsely


  • In a pot, bring the milk to a boil with the cardamom pods and vanilla seeds, and bean. Stop the heat and cover, to let infuse for 30 minutes. Filter and discard the cardamom pods, and vanilla bean.
  • Reheat the milk and keep at a simmering point.
  • Separate the egg whites from the yolks.
  • With an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites firm with a pinch of salt. Once they are almost firm, add 2 Tbsp fine sugar and beat for an extra minute.
  • Take a large spoonful of egg whites and drop it in the milk. Poach on each side for 1 min in the simmering milk. Remove and place on a paper towel. Repeat until you do not have egg whites left; set aside.
  • In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar, until light and white in color.
  • Pour the warm milk slowly, while stirring. Transfer to the pot again, and heat the cream on medium to low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir constantly until the cream thickens, and coats the spoon — never let the cream boil (this might take 10 min.)
  • Once the cream has the right consistency, pour into a recipient to let cool. Then transfer to serving glasses, and cover with plastic film. Place in the fridge until ready to use. Serve with the egg whites on top, and chopped pistachios.
Le coin français
Oeufs à la neige vanille et cardamome

(Pour 4 personnes)

Ingrédients :

  • 4 gros oeufs
  • 60 cl de lait entier
  • 1 gousse de vanille, fendue et grattée
  • 6 capsules de cardamome verte, pilées
  • 80 g de sucre de canne blond
  • Pistaches vertes non salées, hachées grossièrement

Étapes :

  • Dans une casserole, faites bouillir le lait avec la vanille (graines et gousse) et la cardamome. Arrêtez le feu et couvrez. Laissez infuser pendant 30 min avant de filtrer.
  • Chauffez le lait à nouveau, et maintenez-le feu pour qu’il frémisse.
  • Cassez les oeufs en séparant les blancs des jaunes.
  • A l’aide d’un mixeur à main, battez les blancs en neige ferme avec une pincée de sel. Une fois qu’ils sont presque fermes, ajoutez 2 càs de sucre de canne pour raffermir la meringue, et battez pendant 1 minute.
  • Prélevez une grosse cuiller à soupe de blancs d’oeuf, et déposez-la dans le lait frémissant. Pochez de chaque côté pendant environ 1 min. Retirez et réservez sur du papier absorbant.
  • Dans une jatte, battez les jaunes avec le reste de sucre jusqu’à blanchiment.
  • Versez lait chaud en filet, et mélangez. Reversez cette crème dans la casserole, et faites épaissir sur feu doux en mélangeant avec une cuiller en bois — sans jamais laisser bouillir — pendant 10 min environ. La crème est prête une fois qu’elle nappe bien la cuiller.
  • Versez la crème anglaise dans un récipient pour qu’elle refroidisse, puis dans des ramequins ou des petits verres. Filmez et mettez au frais jusqu’au moment de servir. Servez avec les blancs en neige pochés, et des pistaches hachées.
Posted in Dessert, French Inspired, Gluten Free


  1. Oh, it looks lovely. I might have fallen in love-at-first sight with a dessert, before I ever taste it.

  2. je suis sous le charme devant un tel dessert doux et crémeux! c’est très chic, de plus je ne peux qu’appércier la cardamome

  3. How wonderful! And I love how P. guessed your favourite dessert. It’s a popular dessert in Estonia as well, where it’s known as ‘lumepallisupp’ aka snow ball soup 🙂

  4. Bonjour,

    je ne t’ai jamais laissé de comm’ mais là, il le fallait ! Je prends ta recette, et au passage, je te félicite pour tes sublimes photos. Je suis scotchée ! Bravo !

  5. This could quickly become my husband’s favorite dessert, too! Especially if he sees your gorgeous photograph.

  6. I’ve had floating islands, but I’ve never even heard of snow eggs before! They sound just wonderful. And I’m entirely charmed by how well P. knows you.

  7. They look adorable, but I’m utterly curious about the texture! What is the texture of the egg whites like when cooked this way?

  8. What a great winter desert! It seem that most deserts this time a year is on the heavy side of things, this one seems just right. Have to try that some time around.

  9. Oeufs a la neige are my faaaavorite!!! When I was in Aix two summers ago, it was the first dessert I ordered upon entering the city! Hardly Provence-specific, but I couldn’t resist.

  10. Well, I definitely have the temptation to make some ‘lumepallisupp’ (literally snow ball soup) now, which is how the dessert is called in Estonia. So many people claim it to be THE childhood treat, but I must admit my mom never made it. The vanilla seeds in your version make it look so divine!

  11. I have never heard of this before, but I am already in love with it! So beautiful, and the recipe seems do-able. I love the glass serving dishes especially — I definitely need to find some of those!

  12. It’s a perfect day to post this – it’s snowing so hard. I might just go home early from work and make this beautiful little thing. Thank you for posting.

  13. Pour tout te dire, je n’aime pas ca. Mais j’en connais qui se damneraient pour des oeufs a la neige, et puis quand tu les fais c’est si joli a voir, en harmonie avec le parc en hiver.

  14. A really helpful and infomative Blog. Congratulations! I learnt something today. Great shots too!

  15. Oh my~ I just found your blog and not only i developed some cravings, also I love the colors and your recipe. Cooking is my own relaxing time and is always great to find people that feels the same way~

  16. OH boy, I love these little fellas :)) Great recipe and great photos!
    Back home in Croatia my grandma always used to make me, it comes from a german word, ”Schneenockeln”.
    I have to make this now!!

  17. I like them too. A typical childhood dessert!
    A couple of months ago I made a savoury version with porcini powder in the egg white and the custard being replaced by a creamy porcini soup.
    It was a success.

  18. On est vraiment soeur virtuelles ca alors! C’est mon dessert prefere, le premier que j’ai appris a faire en fait! J’adore le faire pour des amis ici, c’est nouveau,c’est beau et c’est tres leger. Avec la cardamome ca doit etre excellent!

  19. je dois vraiment dire que je n’ai pas de bons souvenirs des oeufs à la neige, mais peut êztre faudrait il réessayer avec une bonne crème anglaise et des oeufs battus n’ayant pas le goût du plastique….

  20. I always thought these were much more difficult to make! I will have to give it a try now, it looks fabulous!

  21. Pingback: The Snow, Friends, and the Bûche de Noël — La neige, des amis, et la bûche de Noël by La Tartine Gourmande

  22. Mrs W., bingo, it is a great dessert, and so simple to make.

    Steamy Kitchen, thank you so much.

    Minouchka, ah oui, si doux, tu as bien raison.

    Peabody, thank you!

    Pille, ah yes P. knows my weaknesses well, and I talk about them so much 😉

    Kat, yes edible snow. My favorite part too.

    Eryn, merci beaucoup de ton commentaire, et bienvenue!

    Bergeou, c’est le dessert de l’enfance par excellence, pas vrai?

    Lydia, oh yes, and it might also become yours!

    Danielle, you will see, they are very similar to floating islands, just the egg whites are the slight difference. Easier to make too.

    Ellie, texture, hmm, let me think. Very airy, a little sweet because of the sugar added. I would say between marshmallows and candy floss, lees sweet.

    Jesper, you are quite right, and this is why I like this dessert. It is really light, and I never make them too sweet either. I do not like desserts that are sweet.

    Dana, good for you. You knew what you were doing!

    Mary, tu as bien raison. C’est si bon.

    Valerie, ah oui, la cardamome, ou meme lavande, que je fais aussi.

    Evelin, what a fun name. Very playful sounding to me.

    Sugarlaws, good luck on your search, and I hope you enjoy the dessert.

    Rekha, ahah, I hope that you will be get to do it. Get in the kitchen now!!!

    Tana, do!

    Mercotte, merci! Je t’echange cela contre une de tes creations, quand tu veux!!

    Kiriel, thank you.

    Eleonora, tant mieux, et bon weekend a toi aussi.

    Yoyo, you are too sweet.

    Gracianne, aha, je vaix te convaincre, tu vas voir! 😉

    Werner, thank you!

    Virginia, thanks for your visit. I am glad you ended up here!

    Tea, I like to discover all the different names the dessert has, from country to country, thank you for that.

    Nathalie, this sounds like a great idea, and I will surely experiment too.

    Helen, ah mais oui, c’est bien drole. On est nees toutes les deux sous la meme etoile gustative.

    Vanessa, tu sais en fait, je trouve aussi que les oeufs a la neige des cantines, ou de certains restaurants sont souvent bien trop sucres aussi.

    Betty, yeah!

    Brilynn, oh good. You will see how easy it is to make, and gulp down!

  23. I’ve always wondering what the difference is. Since this is your favorite dessert, I’m quite anxious to try it! Sometimes simplicity is the most delicious thing.

  24. Pingback: Habeas Brulee » Blog Archive » Roundup of Food Blog Posts I’ve Enjoyed #13

  25. Pingback: l’Arpège : A Life Worth Eating

  26. Pingback: Baking Cookies in the Rain — Des cookies sous la pluie by La Tartine Gourmande

  27. This looks amazing, I will have to make some this weekend! Thanks goodness for food blogs 🙂

  28. Pingback: Lent without Chocolate means Meringue Two Ways « A Girl's Guide To Living in the Mountains

  29. These look amazing! And cardamom – yum! Your blog makes me miss living in France so much. Luckily, most of my favorite parts were edible. 🙂
    I’ll definitely have to make this for one of my Homegirl Brunches and teach these Texas ladies a thing or two you can do with meringue.
    Merci bcp, Béa!

  30. It looks lovely, my mother used to make this to me when I was a child. I’ll try and make it tomorrow, so many childhood memories.