The City Magazine Since 1975

Îles Flottantes (Floating Island)

(Makes 8-12)
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For the crème anglaise:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 4-6 oz. sugar (amount depends on desired sweetness)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise (or substitute 3 tsp. vanilla extract)

For the soft meringue:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 5-6 oz. sugar

For the caramel sauce:

  • 6 oz. sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

For the crème anglaise: In stand mixer outfitted with whisk attachment, mix yolks and sugar until they form light yellow paste. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, bring milk and vanilla beans to a boil. Working slowly and in small batches, pour hot milk into yolks, gently stirring. Return mixture to saucepan over low heat. Stirring constantly with wooden spoon, cook mixture for 10 to 15 minutes or until liquid starts to coat back of spoon. Immediately pour mixture into mixing bowl, cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate. For the soft meringue: In stand mixer outfitted with whisk attachment (be sure both are clean), beat egg whites until they begin to foam. With mixer running, slowly incorporate sugar. Meringue is finished when egg whites form a thick, fluffy foam. Bring medium pot of water to a boil. With large spoon, deposit entire meringue in water (making one large island). Cook for five minutes, turning halfway through. Remove meringue and place on paper towel to dry. For the caramel sauce: Place sugar in nonstick pan and stir in just enough water to soak sugar. (Mixture should not be soupy; if too much water is added, caramel sauce will take longer to make.) Cook over high heat until sugar begins to turn golden brown; do not stir while on heat. Once color begins to change, immediately remove pan from heat and add enough heavy cream to reach desired consistency. Stir with whisk. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. To serve “floating island,” spoon crème anglaise into individual dessert bowls and top with large dollop of meringue. Garnish with caramel sauce.