Traditional French Recipe: Floating Islands

Creamy, delicious and a traditional recipe… what is it? Floating islands!

floating islands


The floating island is a European dessert of French origin. This creamy, soft dessert consisting of meringues (prepared from whipped egg whites and sugar) floating on creme anglaise. The light yellow custard prepared with egg yolks, vanilla beans and hot milk. Floating island is a perfect dessert for a late summer day when the sun doesn’t shine so strongly but the air is still warm enough to eat something cool.

I don’t like the taste of vanilla, but this dessert always gets round me. I like moving around in the kitchen: trying new or traditional recipes, or rather mixing them. I thought for a long time making floating islands is something very difficult and magical. But then I found this recipe and I changed my opinion because it showed an easy way to make this classic French dessert.

So let’s see the recipe!

Traditional Recipe: Floating Islands with butterscotch
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
How to make in an easy way a traditional French recipe?
  • 7 eggs
  • 5+2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • (2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Bring milk and cream to a boil, then remove from the heat.
  2. Split vanilla bean in half lenghtwise and add to the hot mixture.
  3. Let steep for about 15 min.
  4. Separate whites and yolks of eggs.
  5. Beat yolks and sprinkle in 5 tablespoons sugar. Continue beating until thick and pale yellow in color.
  6. Remove vanilla bean from hot milk.
  7. Scrape seeds from bean and add to milk.
  8. Pour milk - in a fine stream - into egg yolks while beating them continuously.
  9. Pour the mixture into a pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until it forms a custard thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (it's about 20 minutes).
  10. The custard is ready: pour it into a shallow serving dish. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.
  11. Next step is beating egg whites until foamy.
  12. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and continuing to beat until egg whites are shiny and stiff.
  13. Fill a pot with water and bring to a low simmer.
  14. Using two tablespoons, form big egg shapes from whites and poach them in the water for 30 min on each side.
  15. Put the meringues on a clean towel to drain.
  16. Let's make the butterscotch!
  17. Melt the butter in a medium-sized pan over medium heat.
  18. Add the sugar, and whisk until well blended.
  19. Cook until sugar caramelizes.
  20. Remove pan from heat and cool the caramel for 5 minutes.
  21. Arrange the meringues on the top of the custard and with the help of a fork drip the caramel on them.
  22. Serve it immediately.
Don't rush the cooking process of eggs and hot milk or the eggs will scramble. Don't overcook the meringues!


4 thoughts on “Traditional French Recipe: Floating Islands

    1. Hello,
      Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. How lucky you are! I love crepes with sugar and lemon, but I don’t have a French mother-in-law… 🙁
      Have a nice day.

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