Ile Flottante - floating islands


Vanilla, egg whites and caramel, what's not to love about that combination? In France they call this dessert Ile Flottante, which means floating islands.

40 minutes 4 people Desserts
Ile Flottante - floating islands


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  • 1 1/2 litre milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 150 gram sugar (-5 ounces)
  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 5 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cream
Ile Flottante - floating islands ingredients
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Kitchen equipment

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  • 2 medium-sized pans
  • Small saucepan
  • spatula or wooden spoon
  • stand mixer or handmixer with 2 bowls and whisk attachment
  • Chefs knife


40 minutes 4 people Desserts

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Preparing the ile flottante -- 30 minutes

POUR 1 litre of milk in one of the medium-sized pans and the other half in another medium-sized pan. Cut both of the vanilla pods lengthwise in half, remove the marrow and add one vanilla pod to one pan and the second one to the other pan.

Add the rest of the pods into the milk. HEAT both of the pans filled with milk and vanilla on low heat. Separate the egg whites from the yolks, both in another bowl.

The bowl for the egg whites should be really clean otherwise, they won't come out the way you want them to be. You can add a few drops of lemon juice to the bowl to de-grease it.

Whisk the yolks with 150 gram (5 ounces) sugar until the mixture starts to look white. Remove the vanilla pod from the pan with only half a litre of milk. Keep on mixing the egg yolks and carefully pour in the hot milk. This way the yolks won't create lumps.

POUR the whole mixture back into the pan and stir it with a wooden spoon or spatula on low heat for a few minutes. You'll notice the mixture will thicken, that's because the yolks are used as a thickening agent.

When you can make a line on the spatula with your finger and it will stay visible, the sauce is thick enough. Remove from the heat and let it cool off completely. To avoid it from getting a hard layer on top of the sauce, you can place a piece of parchment paper on top of the sauce.

Meanwhile, add sugar and a tablespoon of water to the small saucepan. Don’t stir, just let it simmer on medium-low heat until it starts to caramelize. Be careful, caramel is very, very hot!

When the sugar has its brown colour, the caramel is ready. Remove from the heat and add a little bit of cream and whisk it well. 

Ile flottante
Ile flottante

Putting it together -- 10 minutes

Meanwhile, the other pan filled with milk should be warm enough. BEAT the egg whites until you've reached stiff peaks. Then add the powdered sugar, little by little and mix it well.

Using two spoons to make “quenelles” of the egg whites, meaning it's oval-shaped. Of course, you can make it any shape you like. Gently put the egg white into the hot milk and let them cook for about 2 minutes on each side.

POUR the vanilla sauce, also called creme Anglaise, into the plate or bowl and place the cooked egg whites on top. Finish it off with caramel sauce and that's it! Easy and amazing dessert!

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