floating islands
Floating Island: The Egg Lover's Dream Dessert
By Elaina Friedman
The French dessert île flottante, known as “floating island” in English, is a "fluffy cloud of baked meringue, set adrift in a puddle of crème anglaise, or light custard," per Atlas Obscura. Felicity Cloake of The Guardian notes the dessert’s "pillowy" texture in its meringues and "velvety" smoothness in its bed of custard.
A floating island is often topped with a burnt caramel sauce or praline powder. However, a New York Times recipe strays from tradition by adding cardamon and rose water to the cream, plus cherry syrup and crushed pistachios on top.
While the French floating island is light and fluffy, Brits tend to lean toward a slightly thicker, more toothsome version of the dessert. A recipe in Great British Chefs uses egg yolks, caster sugar, and vanilla for a heartier custard as well as cornflour for a heftier meringue.