Inspired by my trip last year in Provence, I’m sharing a very typical French dessert the Ile Flottante. The name literally means Floating Island.
The French enjoy a good meal which means they can last 3 hours long. You start with an aperitif accompanied with a few plates of hors d’oeuvre. This give you time to catch up with your guests. The first course is served, salad and then your main courses (Plural!). After which you might think that dessert is next but nope, since it’s a French household you need to have cheese. Okay, at this point you’re stuffed and can’t possibly think about food. That’s why the French usually serve light desserts after their meal such as the Ile Flottante.
To read about the meal that inspired this dessert: click here
The printable recipe card is located below.
Ingredients needed. I used the whole vanilla bean because I wanted the cream to have a strong vanilla flavor.
Toppings I used for my version of this dessert.
Separating the yolks from the whites. Use a bigger bowl for the egg whites since you will beat them and they will triple in size.
Slowly pour the sugar while beating your egg whites.
This is how you test your meringue. This is a hard peak.
I filled up my rammequins ’til the top. In case of accidents just fill it up 3/4s.
Slowly pour the milk into your egg mixture while stirring.
Once the mixture covers the back of the spatula evenly, take it off from the stove and place it in your ice bath.
You’ll know when your meringues are done when they get this color on the top.
Dice your fruits into small pieces. Sprinkle your crushed speculoos biscuits for the finishing touch.
- 400ml milk
- ½ Vanilla Bean
- 4 eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 145g sugar
- Bourbon or Cointreau (optional)
- 2 Mango
- 2 Peach Halves
- 4 Speculos Biscuits
- Scrape the Vanilla Bean and place it a sauce pan with the milk. Bring it to a boil.
- Let it cool for 30 minutes to let the vanilla infuse the milk. Then strain the milk.
- Separate the egg yolk and the egg whites.
- In a mixing bowl, place the egg white with a pinch of salt and 20g of sugar. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until they form stiff peaks. This means when you lift the beater, the tips will stand straight.
- The egg whites will cook en bain marie, basically means cooking it in a hot water bath which creates a gentle and uniform heat. To do this you need a rectangle 9×9 dish and fill half way up with water.
- Place smaller pans such as leche flan mold size or individual rammequins inside the bigger dish.
- Fill up ¾ of the smaller dishes with the egg whites.
- Put it in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius or until the egg whites have a nice golden color on top.
- While the egg whites are cooking, start making the Crème Anglaise with the egg yolks, remaining sugar (125g) and the vanilla infused milk.
- Prepare an ice water bath for your crème anglaise. Place water and ice in a big bowl in the refrigerator.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture gets a pale yellow color.
- Continue mixing and slowly pour the vanilla infused milk.
- In a sauce pan, place the egg yolk mixture. Cook the mixture on medium heat and continue stirring. You will know if the mixture is ready, when the cream covers the back of the wooden spatula. You can add Cointreau or Bourbon at this point to give the cream a kick.
- Put your sauce pan in the ice water bath to stop the cooking.
- Let the cream cool for a bit before placing it in the refrigerator.
- Once the egg whites are done, it’s time to prepare your Ile Flottante.
- It’s nice to use a clear bowl or glasses to serve this dessert to show the different layers
- Fill up your serving dishes half way with the crème anglaise. Delicately place the egg whites on top of the cream.
- This dessert is usually topped with a light caramel sauce but you can also serve it with mangoes, peaches or berries or top it with crushed speculos cookies.
- Refrigerate before serving.
- You can replace the pinch of salt with cream of tartare. This ingredients help the egg whites to become meringue.
- If you over cook the cream anglaise it gets the same texture as scrambled eggs. So be careful with the heat and the cooking time.