Floating Island Dessert, a scrumptious recipe of poached meringues floating over crème anglaise (vanilla custard), a smooth and silky cream made with milk, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. It's a very easy treat to make, and quick too. Serve it chilled from the fridge, and it's one exquisite dessert you'll have again and again.
If you are looking for a refreshing no-bake dessert to impress your guests, look no further. This floating island recipe is the answer to all your questions. Easy - checked, quick - checked, yummy - checked; and bonus point, it's flourless, and made only with 3 INGREDIENTS.
It really can't get any better than that! You don't even need a fancy kitchen aid, even a good old hand mixer can do a brilliant job here. The hardest bit is waiting for it to chill, the longer, the better, but do keep it in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. It tastes a lot better once it's cooled and the cream is settled properly.
What is floating island dessert?
So, what's this floating islands dessert? It's a very popular dessert across Europe; in Romania it's one of those desserts we grew up with. We call it "bird's milk", no idea why the silly name, I much prefer the English translation to be honest. But, it's still the same delicious treat.
In French, it's translated either as "oeufs à la neige", (eggs in the snow) or " île flottante" (floating island). Again, these versions sound a lot better to me.
Ingredients needed to make floating island dessert
- egg whites
- sugar -either caster or granulated
- vanilla extract
- egg yolks
- milk - full fat is the best, semi-skimmed also ok
Step-by-step photos and instructions
It's ridiculously easy to make, and believe me, even as a complete beginner in the kitchen, you would still absolutely nail it. DO MAKE SURE THE EGGS ARE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE BEFORE YOU START!
- start by separating the egg whites from the egg yolks
- add half of the amount of sugar to the egg yolks, add vanilla extract and beat together very well until you get a thick paste that has a pale yellow colour ( see photos 1, 2 and 3)
- separately, beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks, then add the remaining sugar, and beat until they hold stiff peaks and you get the consistency of a meringue (see photos 4 and 5)
- bring the milk to the boil, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and add one spoonful of meringue at a time ( see photo 6)
- poach of both sides for 1-2 minutes until they hold their shape, then transfer on a plate
Note! Do no overcrowd the pan, it's best to poach the meringues in batches, depending on the size of your pan, you might have to poach in 2 or 3 batches.
- once the meringues have been poached, add one ladleful of the hot milk to the egg yolk mixture, mixing well after each addition, until you have whisked all the milk in
- simmer the mixture for 2-3 minutes until the cream thickens slightly, and coats the back of a spoon ( see photos 7 and 8)
This is the famous crème anglaise, English cream; or vanilla custard. Custard is usually thickened with cornflour (corn starch), but for this floating island recipe I omitted the cornflour, as we need the custard to have a thinner consistency.
- remove from the heat, leave to cool, then divide between serving plates and add the poached meringues
Can you make the floating island recipe in advance?
Absolutely! As I mentioned before, this dessert is best served chilled, ideally overnight, so you can successfully serve it the following day, and impress all your guests with you amazing treat. Hard to beat a homemade dessert, isn't it?
If you thicken the vanilla custard with cornflour, you can actually either serve it cold on its own, or add it to any custard-based dessert like Cremeschnitte Recipe. Do give it a try!
If you’ve liked my FLOATING ISLAND DESSERT RECIPE or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.
Floating Island Dessert Recipe
For the meringues
- 5 egg whites
- 60 g sugar ( 3 ½ tbsp)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the vanilla custard
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 l milk (4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 60 g sugar (3 ½ tbsp)
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
- In a bowl, beat together the egg yolks with the 60 grams of sugar and one teaspoon of vanilla extract until you get a pale yellow colour and a thicker smooth paste. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until you get soft peaks, then add the 60 grams of sugar and beat again until you get stiff peaks, a meringue-like consistency.
- Bring the milk to the boil, add the vanilla extract, and add one tablespoon of meringue, and poach on both sides for about 1-2 minutes.
- Make sure you poach the meringues in batches, so the pan is not overcrowded.
- Remove the meringues from the milk, and set aside.
- Pour a ladleful of the hot milk over the egg yolk mixture, whisking well after each addition, until the milk is used up.
- Simmer the milk and egg mixture for 2-3 minutes until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon.Remove from the heat, leave to cool, then top with the poached meringues.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
- To see the measurements in cups and ounces, please click on the US CUSTOMARY link.
- The amount of ingredients listed can be adjusted depending on the number of servings you need, just click on the number next to SERVINGS.
- MAKE SURE THE EGGS ARE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE BEFORE YOU START, OTHERWISE THE EGGS WILL CURDLE WHEN YOU ADD THE HOT MILK OVER THE EGG YOLK MIXTURE.
- POUR OVER THE MILK GRADUALLY AND NOT ALL AT ONCE, AND WHISK WELL BEFORE ADDING MORE