DirectionsPrepare the creme anglaise: In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean and its seeds over medium heat until steaming.
Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a medium heatproof bowl that will snugly fit on top of a saucepan (or in the top of a double boiler), whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick and lemon colored.
Gradually whisk in the hot milk.
Set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it thickens enough to coat the spoon, 7 to 8 minutes.
Remove from the heat.
Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and strain the custard, discarding the vanilla bean.
Cool for 20 minutes, then cover and chill.
For the meringue: In a large shallow saucepan, heat 2 inches of water to 170F and keep constant at that temperature (just under a simmer).
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt at low speed until they foam.
Gradually increase the speed to high, while adding the sugar.
Beat until the whites form stiff shiny peaks.
Using a large serving spoon, form egg shapes and gently push the meringues into the hot water, leaving room for them to expand as they poach.
Poach for 3 to 4 minutes.
Carefully turn them over with a slotted spoon and poach for another 3 to 4 minutes until set.
Lift out the meringues using a slotted spoon and place on a wire baking rack lined with a kitchen towel made of thin linen or cotton.
Repeat until all the meringue is used.
(They will keep for several hours.
) When ready to serve, pour the chilled sauce into a shallow serving dish and float the meringues on top.
Prepare the caramel: In a heavy saucepan combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons water and let stand until moistened.
Over medium heat, swirl the pan until the sugar dissolves.
Continue to cook until the syrup turns a golden amber color.
Using the tines of a fork, form thin strands of syrup and drizzle them over the meringues.
Sprinkle the surface with the lime zest and serve.