Floating Islands Dessert Recipe

Floating Island Dessert Recipe

Floating Islands, Another day in paradise… Every now and then I like to revisit old recipes and it doesn’t get much more retro than this classic Floating Islands Dessert Recipe. Soft meringues poached in milk and served to float on silky smooth vanilla custard.

Ingredients for the Islands

4 x Egg Whites

50g x Caster Sugar

Zest of one Lemon

Ingredients for the Custard

800ml x Whole Milk (Also used to poach Islands)

4 x Egg Yolks

70g x Caster Sugar

1 x vanilla pod or tsp of vanilla extract


  1. 1. Place the egg whites into a scrupulously clean mixing bowl and whisk to stiff peaks. It will be easier to use an electric whisk or a freestanding mixer to do this although it is possible to whisk by hand.
  1. 2. Once the egg whites reach stiff peaks, add the 50g of caster sugar gradually while still mixing until fully incorporated.
  1. 3. Add the milk to a saucepan along with 1 tablespoon of sugar (taken from the 70g) vanilla seeds/extract and slowly bring to the boil, turn down the heat immediately to a gentle simmer.
  1. 4. At this stage take a large spoon of the egg white mixture and place into the milk. You can shape it into quenelles if you fancy or you can go for the rustic farmhouse look as I did. You should be able to fit 3 – 4 islands in the pan at one time. Cook for 4 -5 minutes turning halfway to ensure they are cooked through. Once cooked remove and place on a wire rack to drain.
  1. 5. To make the custard, mix the egg yolks with the remaining sugar. Take a ladle of the hot vanilla milk and add to the egg yolk while mixing vigorously. This is called tempering the eggs. Gradually keep adding the milk, whisking continuously until smooth and creamy.
  1. 6. Return the custard back to the saucepan and place over a medium heat. Stir continuously for 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the custard through a sieve into a bowl, leave to cool and place in the fridge.
  1. 7. To serve, ladle a generous serving of custard into a bowl and place the floating island on top. Finish with fresh lemon zest. Traditionally served cold.
  3. Tip – This dish is often served with caramel over the meringue. To do this add 100g of caster sugar into a pan. Melt the sugar over a low heat stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar turns a golden brown colour. Remove from the heat to ensure the caramel doesn’t burn. Carefully drizzle over the meringue and leave to set for 1 minute before adding to the custard.

Don’t forget to check out more of my Good Day Recipes and Bad Day Recipes.

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