Floating Islands - Iles Flottante

Iles Flottantes or Floating Islands

by Maureen on July 3, 2012

I know I’m not the only one having a hellishly busy schedule these days.  I seem to be a dollar short and a day late on just about everything.  I haven’t visited half the blogs I normally would never miss (I’m sorry) and I feel like I’m missing out on heaps of stuff because I’m too busy working.

I’d give a lot to have more time to spend with my blog but the economy speaks and work is what I must do.  So if you thought I was ignoring you because I’m lazy, not this time.

When my friend Gill arrived the other day for coffee (I do take a break when the doorbell rings) she brought with her a big sack of the last of the season passionfruit.  She’s got a lovely vine growing on her fence facing the canal and she gets great morning northerly sun and the passionfruit appreciate it. (remember we’re upside down so north is good)

I decided to make some passionfruit curd and it was really delicious. I made it just like I make lemon curd.  “What to do with passionfruit curd,” I wondered.  Just then I saw a flash on the tv screen about iles flottante in a cookbook ad.  Instantly I was transported to Paris and tasting the most wonderful fluffy meringue floating in a sea of creme anglais.  I knew what to do with the passionfruit curd!

I made a floating island in passionfruit.  This is an elegant but not very difficult to make dessert.

There are a few ways to make this but I chose the easy way.  I baked it.  I believe the correct (?) way is to poach the islands in milk, dry on a cloth and then place in the ocean of custard.  That seemed way too fiddly for a weeknight dessert.  It was a mini celebration for John and me but it was still a weeknight and as I said, life’s pretty busy, so baked it was.

I whipped the egg whites, added 3 tablespoons of caster sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar and piped a large island for two on a piece of baking paper.  I baked it at 150C for about  40 minutes until it was just beginning to take on some color.  When I make this again I’ll check the oven at 30 minutes.  The  meringues only need to be not raw and set.

To make the ocean I took that wonderful passionfruit curd and added enough cream to make it soupy and then plopped the meringues in the middle.  We each took a spoon and both of us loved it.

Because I cobbled mine together, I won’t guess at what I put in.  I know, I should have made this again but I just haven’t had time.  Instead I’ll give you links to Iles Flottante that I used for inspiration.

iles flottante by My Cooking HutMyCookingHut.com

iles flottante by From Bordeaux to BaliFrom Bordeau to Bali

iles flottante by Chocolate Chip TripsChocolate Chip Trips

I had a look at Ina Garten’s recipe Ile Flottante but when I saw all that sugar I decided to go out on my own and I’m very glad I did.  Next time I’ll do the caramel but John doesn’t like it so, well, he does a lot for me and this blog so I like to make things he enjoys too.

Ile Flottante by Orgasmic Chef

5.0 from 3 reviews
Iles Flottantes or Floating Islands
Every time I think of Paris I am reminded of my favorite dessert, Ile Flottante or floating island. Light flufy meringue swimming in an ocean of soft custard.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Serves: 4
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  1. In a mixing bowl and a balloon whisk, beat the egg whites with a pinch of sugar and the cream of tartar.
  2. When the eggs being to form soft peaks, continue beating and slowly add the sugar.
  3. When the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has firm, shiny peaks, it's time to bake.
  4. Either drop by large spoonsful or pipe islands on a silpat or baking paper.
  5. Bake at 150C for 30 minutes until the meringue is set.
  6. Do not refrigerate.
  7. Serve in a bowl of creme anglaise or pouring custard.
  8. Top with caramel if you can be bothered making it. :)


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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Minnie(@thelady8home) July 3, 2012 at 2:11 pm

What a supercool, and SUPER easy dessert!! Making it tomorrow.

Can I replace the tartar with white vinegar?
Minnie(@thelady8home) recently posted..Garlicky Salmon and potato cubes served on a bed of Peas Pulao


peachkins July 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I would love to make this for dessert one of these days…..


Jennifer (Delicieux) July 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Your Iles Flottantes looks divine! I know what you mean about not having time lately to get everything done. .


Nami | Just One Cookbook July 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm

This is my first time learning about Iles Flottantes (well but you know me, I’m not very knowledgeable about dessert recipes) and enjoyed learning about it. I often has egg whites in the fridge waiting to be used but… you know, all the baking recipes using egg whites sounds difficult. Maybe not so for this one. :-)


Jamie July 3, 2012 at 6:38 pm

I’ve never had Iles Flottantes with baked whites but I love the idea – how much easier than poaching. And your cream is a great and flavorful change from the traditonal crème anglaise. I love it! This is one dessert I’ve long desired to make but have been afraid to try. I am loving your simpler way. Perfect!


Iron Chef Shellie July 3, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Never had one of these, must attempt to try it!!


eileen July 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Sorry you’ve been busy, but glad there’s work for you. I have never heard of this dessert before. It looks very good :) Happy 4th!


the wicked noodle July 3, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I have never had this dessert or even heard of it, but it sounds (and looks) just lovely! Anything floating in custard gets my vote – especially when it looks this pretty!
the wicked noodle recently posted..baked strawberry oatmeal


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella July 3, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Maureen, we were just talking about this dessert tonight and here you’ve got it! It’s so lovely and light, like a swan or ballerina :D


Denise July 4, 2012 at 2:25 am

It does feel like our life is crazy here too! Mostly house stuff but many other things seem to happen every week! I hope you get some down time soon.
This dessert looks so good and I am definitely going to try it. I think I had something like it in Salzburg once. Yum. And I am very impressed that in the midst of busyness you made such a pleasant dessert!! Good for you.


Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 4, 2012 at 4:54 am

What a pretty Iles Flottante! Love the passion fruit curd with it.
Laura (Tutti Dolci) recently posted..peanut butter swirl ice cream pie


A_Boleyn July 4, 2012 at 6:16 am

This is such an impressive dessert but uses very simple ingredients. Which is why it’s one of the classics. I don’t think I’ve seen a restaurant offering this in more than 20 yrs. Perhaps it will make a reappearance. Based on the size of yours in the top picture it truly does resemble an island.

I like that you were able to adapt what you had on hand to produce such special result. I have some mixed citrus curd (see link below) that I made a while back but as I’m not really a breakfast person, I’m stumped as to what to do with it, other than mixing it with some whipped cream and filling pre-baked tart shells, or in a trifle, but now I’ve been inspired. Many thanks.



The Squishy Monster July 4, 2012 at 9:23 am

This is simple, elegant, and gorgeous!!!

Have a great 4th!
Twitter @aSquishyMonster


kitchenriffs July 4, 2012 at 11:46 am

Sorry you’re so busy! But I know that’s one of those things that’s both good and bad (good for $$, bad ’cause you can’t do the fun stuff you like). Anyway, I’m not sure if I’ve ever made Floating Island. I have a dim memory of making it eons ago. But I’ve certainly eaten it plenty of times. Good stuff – the passion fruit is a nice touch.
kitchenriffs recently posted..Betsy Ross Cocktail


Barb @ Profiteroles & Ponytails July 4, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Your version looks lovely. I’ve been feeling rather stretched myself at the moment, so I can relate completely. I must try to make floating islands one of these days — it’s on my bucket list.


Hotly Spiced July 4, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I would love to have a passionfruit vine. It seems we all grew up with them and ate passionfruit in abundance but now no one has them and we have to pay a ridiculous price for them. When did they become so expensive? Making a curd and serving it with meringue is exactly what I would have done. How perfect are those two flavours! That’s a gorgeous looking dessert Maureen and I thought it even looked a little Christmasy and would be good for a Christmas in July celebration xx


Reem | Simply Reem July 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I have to make this someday!!
I love it but somehow have never tried making it…
Thanks for sharing!!


Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

It looks like an exploding volcano! :D Very original and cool, I’d dig into that with a huge spoon any day. ;)
Having a passionfruit vine sounds so good! There’s nothing growing in my garden except some herbs. :( In fact, I received a passionfruit tree from a family friend a while ago, my boyfriend’s mum planted it in the worst corner of the garden ever and it’s just not growing. :(


yummychunklet July 5, 2012 at 6:00 am

Your dessert looks tempting. I can’t wait to try these as well.


sippitysup July 5, 2012 at 11:05 am

Here’s to throwing it together so beautifully. No need to write down a recipe. In fact I have been playing with that idea on my blog. No recipes just tantalizing teaser pics that make people want to cry. While I am at it maybe I’ll leave all the recipes out of my cookbook too! That will really leave them begging for more right?? GREG


Charles July 5, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I love floating islands – I never made them, apart from that poached meringue thing I made, that’s not really the same, but these… look wonderful, and they’re so light and fluffy too, as well as looking seriously visually impressive!


Baker Street July 6, 2012 at 12:27 am

Your Iles Flottantes looks heavenly Maureen! LOVE the passion fruit curd with it!
Baker Street recently posted..#MuffinMonday: Cherry and White Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Muffins


Katherine Martinelli July 6, 2012 at 12:37 am

Just gorgeous!! I love this classic dessert and yours is beautiful. I know what you mean about being so busy lately! I’ve also fallen terribly behind on visiting blogs, etc. So it goes. Gorgeous dish!


Rhonda July 6, 2012 at 2:25 am

yum that looks awesome. You are right about work having to come first as much as it stinks :)


Sanjeeta KK July 6, 2012 at 2:27 am

Ohh..this looks so t before!dramatic and yum..never heard about such a dessert before!
Sanjeeta KK recently posted..Recipes | Refreshing Couscous Salad with Fresh Fruits & Veggies Drenched in Orange Juice


Katherines Corner July 6, 2012 at 6:03 am

This brings back a happy memory from childhood. Yum xo


Amanda July 6, 2012 at 8:58 am

Oh, yum – how delicious And hardly any calories at all, I’m sure!
We have a huge passionfruit vine, but it’s ornamental and doesn’t fruit. It was here when we bought the place – who would think that was a good idea, for heavens sake.


Terra July 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I have never heard of a Iles Flottantes, what a fun idea:-) Your floating island looks fantastic! I wish I had a passion fruit tree in my backyard, that would seriously ROCK:-) AND passion fruit curd….OH MY WORD! :-) Hugs, Terra


Claire July 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Hi Maureen! I hear you on the crazy busy these days, but hopefully things will slow down so we can get some lazy days in…or, a lazy afternoon, at least! ;-) This looks so creative!


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