Floating Ghosts

Adorably sweet meringue ghosts float atop a black lagoon crème anglaise made with activated charcoal.


  • For the black lagoon sauce:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeded
  • 6 egg yolks (reserve 4 egg whites)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon activated charcoal powder
  • For the ghosts:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Black gel icing


  1. Make the sauce: Heat milk and vanilla bean seeds over medium-high heat until just simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan on low heat, whisk egg yolks, sugar and salt until well combined and thick. Slowly add warmed milk while constantly whisking. Continue to stir mixture over low heat until sauce thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes. Strain custard into a bowl and chill for 1 hour. Whisk in charcoal powder after chilled. (Can be made a day ahead.)
  3. Make the ghosts: Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
  4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat milk until simmering, being careful not to scald the milk.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until meringue is stiff and glossy. Place meringue mixture into a piping bag, and carefully pipe ghost shapes into the warm milk. Cook each ghost meringue for about 1 minute per side. (Tip: Only cook a few ghosts at a time; they will expand as they cook.)
  6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ghosts, and let them rest on the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Transfer ghosts to a wax paper-lined baking sheet to cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  7. Assemble the scene: Spoon sauce onto a large shallow bowl or plate with sides. Place 2 ghosts on sauce. Use the black gel to create a cute ghost face. Enjoy!