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île Flottante Floating Islands

île Flottante Floating Islands

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île Flottante Floating Islands is a dessert that is sure to impress your dinner date or guests at your next dinner party.  Does making Crème Anglaise intimidate you?  The thought of simmering meringues in a milk bath make you want to hide in the pantry?  île Flottante, also known as Floating Islands is not hard to make, at all.  All it takes to make this fluffy and sultry Floating Island recipe is a little time and patience.

île Flottante Floating Islands

Never fear Lenny is going to teach you how to make his favorite French dessert, île Flottante Floating Islands during a live cooking demo we are doing with G+ Live Cooking Demo.  He has mastered the soufflé, and now he is moving on.  If, he can do it, so can you!

Live cooking demo below

Recipe: île Flottante Floating Islands

* permission granted to post this recipe from the wonderful Dorie Greenspan

**  serves 6


Creme Anglaise

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Floating Islands

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • pinch of cream of tartar or salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Caramel (optional)

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

How To:

Creme Anglaise:

  1. Bring the milk to a boil.  Set aside
  2. Place the yolks and sugar in a heavy saucepan and whisk vigorously until thick and pale, 2 – 3 minutes.  Still whisking, drizzle in a little of the hot milk – this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won’t curdle.  Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remaining milk.  Put the saucepan over medium-low heat and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until the custard thickens, lightens in color, and coats the spoon (this can take 10 minutes or so) – if you run your finger down the spoon, the track should remain.  For this recipe, the creme Anglaise should be cooked until it reaches 180 degrees F on an instant-read- thermometer.
  3. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, strain the custard into a bowl and stir in the vanilla.  Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, or for up to 3 days.  The flavor improves with time.


  1. Spread a clean kitchen towel on the counter near the stove and have a large slotted spoon at hand.  Put the milk in a wide saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat.
  2. Meanwhile, put the egg whites in a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a large bowl and a hand mixer.  Beat the whites on medium speed just until foamy, then beat in the cream of tartar or salt.  When the eggs turn opaque, increase the mixer speed to medium-high and add the sugar about 1 tablespoon at a time.  Whip until the meringue is firm but satiny and glossy.
  3. You have two choices in shaping the islands:  you can just scoop up some meringue – specifically, an amount about twice the size of an egg – in which case you’ll have the equivalent of a rocky volcanic island, or you can smooth the meringue to get a manicured island.  For the smooth look, use a large oval spoon to scoop up the meringue, then use another large oval spoon to very gingerly transfer the meringue from spoon to spoon a couple of times to form a smooth oval.
  4. Either way, one by one, lower the islands into the simmering milk, adding only as many islands as you can fit into the pan without crowding.  Poach the meringues for 1 minute, gently turn them over and poach 1 minute more, then lift the islands out of the milk and onto the towel.  Repeat until you’ve poached 12 islands.  Put the puffs (which will have inflated when poached and will deflate when cooled) on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and chill them for at least 1 hour, or for up to 3 hours.  *  we like to eat immediately


  1. Right before serving, stir the sugar and water together in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat, bring the sugar to a boil and cook without stirring, swirling the pan occasionally, until the caramel turns a pale gold color, 6 – 8 minutes or so.  Pull the pan from the heat and let the caramel cool just until it is thick enough to form threads when it is dropped from the tines of a fork.  If the caramel hardens, rewarm it slowly over low heat.
  2. If you want to make do-dads, line a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat and drizzle the hot caramel in designs over the top with a teaspoon.  Place in the refrigerator to harden (about 10 minutes).  Immediately remove, they will not last long.
  3. Either pour the creme Anglaise into a large serving bowl and top with the meringue islands or make six individual servings.  If using the caramel, working quickly, dip the tines of a fork into the caramel and wave the fork over the floating islands to create threads that will quickly harden.  If using do-dads, top each island with one.
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Saturday 6th of April 2013

Mmm I love poached meringues. These look beautiful

Nutmeg Nanny

Monday 25th of March 2013

This is so beautiful :) I'd love to try it myself


Monday 25th of March 2013

Ooooh he beat me to it! I want to make both Iles Flottantes and Oeufs à la Neige. Yes we can! But to get mine looking as beautiful as his? I don't know...

Brian @ A Thought For Food

Sunday 24th of March 2013

I have fallen hard for homemade macaroons. Love that you used the preserves in here. Something a little different.