This Week: Floating Islands

Îles flottantes is a dessert that everybody’s familiar with. In France. Here in the States, and I dare say in lots of other places on Earth, it’s virtually unknown. Why I can’t say, but it’s a treat you’ll find in France wherever simple food is served: in bistros and in homes. It’s comfort food, in other words. But what exactly is a “floating island?” Basically it’s a blob of meringue poached in milk, floating in a puddle of crème anglaise and topped with caramel and/or nuts. It’s sweet but not too sweet, rich but not too rich, light but satisfying. In many ways a perfect dessert. If you’ve never tried it, you’re in for a very pleasant surprise.

4 thoughts on “This Week: Floating Islands”

  1. I read this on Wikipedia:

    There is some confusion about the name. In French cuisine, the terms œufs à la neige (“eggs in snow”) and île flottante (floating island) are sometimes used interchangeably; the latter is the source of the English name. The difference between the two dishes is that île flottante sometimes contains islands made of “alternate layers of alcohol-soaked dessert biscuits and jam.”

    Will you be making both?

    1. I don’t think so. I’ll be focusing on the kids’ version, just the meringue and creme anglais. This dessert is amazing as it is. No need to guild the lilly, or at any rate that’s my current thinking.

  2. As usual your timing is alarmingly appropriate.

    I made chocolate souffles for the first time last night (they were delicious)! As usual I was fascinated by the egg white foam and wondering what else I could do with it, and also spent a good part of last night looking at creme anglaise recipes to go with the souffle (for next time).

    I came across “floating islands” in my search and added it to the list of things to try. Had no idea that a recipe would fall in my lap so quickly. 😉

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