Two floating islands served in dessert glasses

Floating islands

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(5 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins plus chilling

More effort

Serves 4

Whip up some floating islands at your next dinner party, the retro-cool French dessert featuring crème anglaise, meringue and caramel

Nutrition and extra info

  • Gluten-free
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: Per serving

  • kcal383
  • fat12g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs58g
  • sugars58g
  • fibre0g
  • protein10g
  • salt0.5g
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    For the crème anglaise

    • 500ml whole milk
    • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
    • 4 large egg yolks (save the white of 1 egg and freeze the rest for another recipe)
    • 100g caster sugar

    For the meringues

    • 1 large egg white
    • 50g caster sugar
    • 200ml whole milk



      One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

    For the caramel

    • 50g caster sugar


    1. Heat the milk and vanilla in a pan until steaming. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Continue whisking while you pour the hot milk over the egg yolks in a steady stream, until combined. Transfer back to the pan, and heat over a medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 mins. It shouldn’t be custard thick, more of a thick double cream consistency. Transfer to a bowl, cover the surface with a scrunched piece of baking parchment and leave to cool. Once cool, chill until ready to serve. 

    2. Put the egg white in a stand mixer. Whisk for 4-5 mins until you get soft peaks. With the motor still running, add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time, allowing it to be incorporated before adding the next. When all the sugar has been added, whisk for another 2-3 mins until stiff.

    3. Pour the milk and 200ml water into a wide pan or medium frying pan and heat until steaming, but not boiling. Add heaped teaspoons of the meringue mix into the milk, using another teaspoon to slide the meringue off the spoon, and gently poach for 3-4 mins (you don’t need to move them around). Carefully turn the meringues over and cook the other side for 3-4 mins until set. Remove the meringues from the milk and leave to cool on a plate.

    4. To make the caramel, heat the sugar, 1 tbsp water and pinch of salt in a small pan and cook on a medium heat until you get a lightly golden caramel, about 10 mins. Keep warm for drizzling at the end. 

    5. To serve, briefly stir, then spoon the custard into four ramekins or small bowls. Top each with a meringue and a drizzle of caramel.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    16th Sep, 2019
    Really disappointed with this recipe. I have used GF recipes for years and never had any fails, but this was a disaster. The custard was way too thin, despite trying to thicken and the islands are too small! They should be tablespoon size. I made this 20 years ago and it was great, this recipe isn’t.
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