8 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 quart milk
one cinnamon stick
one piece of lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon corn starch (mixed with a small amount of water to form a watery paste)
1. Beat egg whites until stiff, continue beating and gradually add 1/2 cup of sugar. The mixture should be fluffy.
2. Boil the milk with salt, cinnamon and lemon rind. When it starts to boil, reduce heat slightly and drop the beaten egg whites by tablespoons into the milk. Keep the islands separate (do a few at a time) and let cook, turning once with a slotted spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes.
3. When cooked, remove the islands to a plate or bowl. Keep the islands cool in the refrigerator (loosely covered with plastic wrap) until ready to use.
4. Remove saucepan from heat. Remove lemon rind and cinnamon stick.
5. Beat the egg yolks with the 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla. Use a whisk and add the beaten egg yolks to the warm milk you used to cook the islands. Add corn starch paste. Keep whisking and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Cook the mixture until it thickens - about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into a glass bowl, and let cool to room temperature. (You may also use a double boiler to avoid scorching.)
6. To serve, place custard in bowls and add an island or two so that they "float" on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon or drizzle with caramel sauce.