ffwD: Floating Islands


I’ve been stressing over this week’s recipe assignment because of the meringue. Not as to making it but what to make it in. Dorie’s version requires a springform pan, and my springform pan is warped. So, I switched the baking method for my meringue islands and settled on using Ina Garten’s recipe for ile flottante, which also incorporated making almond brittle from sliced almonds. (I used slivered) As for the sea of custard, I followed Dorie’s creme anglais recipe but used two-thirds of a vanilla bean instead of extract to flavor the cream.

Both Dorie and Ina made this dessert sound effortless, but it was too involved for my liking. Even if I hadn’t made Ina’s almond brittle, there seemed to be way more babysitting for the creme anglais and the meringes. I’d rather spend more time plating the dessert and eating it than standing over the stove waiting for custards to thicken or meringues to dry out. Nevertheless, my sister and her friends ate bowlfuls of this dessert with gusto, especially the creme anglais! However, I don’t think I’ll be making this again unless I really have tons of time and patience on my hands.

These floating islands were made for French Fridays with Dorie, a group of bloggers who are cooking their way through Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours.

52 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cher
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 11:04:36

    I like your alternate version! Looks great

  2. apuginthekitchen
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 11:51:26

    I love your version, the brittle and the meringue on the creme anglais sounds just perfect. I can imagine everyone devouring it, it’s such an amazing dessert. Yes, it does take babysitting for sure, maybe reserve for special occasions. It’s very elegant.

  3. markd60
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 11:51:38

    Well, to be honest, I can’t even tell what it is.

  4. Liz
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 12:11:27

    Yeah, it’s definitely a special occasion dessert! The brittle is a lovely touch!

  5. Geraldine Saucier
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 12:44:28

    The dessert looks lovely. In reading over the recipe it sounded like it took a lot of time which I didn’t have this week. Glad your guests enjoyed the dessert. I will give this dessert a try around the holidays.

  6. andi winslow
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 12:58:27

    Looks pretty…………but agree with you too much work…………Andi

  7. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 13:17:25

    Kudos for the brittle! I like the way you made this.

  8. Dimple@shivaaydelights
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 14:32:05


  9. SandraM
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 14:53:14

    It looks very pretty. (but that does sound like a lot of work)

  10. chef mimi
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 15:12:34


  11. saucygander
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 15:54:34

    Very impressed that you made creme anglaise and brittle, it sounds delicious!

  12. Norma Chang
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 18:33:40

    Looks so delicious, I too would eat bowlfuls of it if someone else made it for me.

  13. I WIlkerson
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 19:00:32

    My gut looking at the picture was that this would be a lot of work, so I wasn’t surprised at your comment. But it does look tasty–ahh finding that perfect mix of tasty and easy can be tough.

  14. bakeawaywithme.com
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 19:15:49

    Your version looks lovely! I really enjoyed this one…quite delicious!

  15. triciaandnana
    Aug 30, 2013 @ 22:30:52

    Wow – yours looks crazy good so at least the results were clearly worth it. And thanks for the shout out to Ina, I will need to check her version too. I had actually thought the whole recipe was going to be crazy complicated (not to mention that I didn’t originally realize I needed to make home made creme anglais)…but was pleasantly surprised. Once again, it comes down to expectations for me :). Tricia

  16. Bam's Kitchen (@bamskitchen)
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 03:11:18

    I love that brittle addition. I don’t think i would have a lot of patience to make this dessert either, however good on you for giving it a go.

  17. oneexpatslifeRose
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 05:10:07

    Brittle sounds like a great addition. And I love how your meringues look.

  18. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 06:25:42

    How about a group of us each making one step of the recipe, then sending it all to one person’s house for assembly. After it’s put together we can all meet and enjoy it together!

    You’re all welcome here!

  19. Beth
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 07:48:32

    It looks beautiful. Sorry it wasn’t worth the work.

  20. Amelia
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 09:19:34

    Hi, very delectable dessert! 🙂

    Have a nice weekend.

  21. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 09:48:30

    This is my favorite dessert in the world! It’s light, fluffy, sweet and delicious! Plus I feel French when I eat it. 🙂

  22. tastytreats13
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 10:37:41

    This does look very pretty!

  23. Fae's Twist & Tango
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 12:53:45

    I have a recipe for a large ile flottante/floating island, for which I am searching for a deep mold… I have not been successful yet. I love soft meringue such as inside Pavlova. 😛 Your version looks very delectable, especially for us Iranians who make/love these brittle almonds, which we call ‘burnt almonds’! 😀

  24. Confessions of a Culinary Diva
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 16:30:51

    That brittle looks crazy good! I tend to agree, it isn’t horrible to make, but a little more time consuming that I wish for at home!

  25. Simply Life (@SimplyLifeBlog)
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 18:47:33

    What a creative concept!

  26. betsy
    Aug 31, 2013 @ 20:12:57

    The brittle looks like a nice way to interpret “caramel”.

  27. Cakelaw
    Sep 01, 2013 @ 01:51:43

    The almond brittle is spectacular! I liked this but can’t imagine it would ever be my dessert of choice.

  28. Gloria
    Sep 01, 2013 @ 03:42:15

    Wow these floating islands are so artistic!!

  29. trevor sis boom
    Sep 01, 2013 @ 12:40:29

    Too much sweet for me but at your house I would have just noshed on the brittle ’cause me loves that!

  30. dedy oktavianus pardede
    Sep 01, 2013 @ 12:45:56

    Lovely fresh dessert,
    fancy wholesome cream within the real vanilla bean

  31. Daniela
    Sep 01, 2013 @ 18:13:37

    Looks like an amazing dessert but I do agree with you that the preparing time involved is scary.
    Anyhow it was worthwhile the effort, it’s a very pretty sweet treat.

  32. hotlyspiced
    Sep 01, 2013 @ 19:38:05

    I do love meringue so I’m sure I would love this dessert. Despite all the complication, it looks very good xx

  33. Raymund
    Sep 01, 2013 @ 21:58:15

    Nice workaround! Love the idea and everthing in that plate 🙂

  34. Adriana @ GreatFood360°
    Sep 02, 2013 @ 07:12:52

    The little vanilla bean flecks are super pretty! I think we’ve had worse in terms of complicated recipes. 🙂

  35. Mary Frances
    Sep 02, 2013 @ 16:42:03

    Love the almond brittle!

  36. Edible Celebrations (@lavesta)
    Sep 02, 2013 @ 20:43:58

    Just the thought of making meringue sends me in a tizzy! I’m liking your version too, Yummy.

    Thanks for sharing…

  37. Culinary Flavors
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 12:35:02

    It looks very elegant! Creme Anglais is a pain in the neck!

  38. abby
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 14:21:58

    Oh this looks yummy! I am not much of a dessert maker/baker, haha. Not sure why but I think every time I attempt to make dessert it doesn’t end up very good, ha. This however, looks delish!

  39. nazima, Franglais Kitchen
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 16:27:12

    wow what a great idea they look so pretty!

  40. Jessica Maher (@kbelleicious)
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 21:47:42

    brittle just makes me happy! I love this. you shouldn’t have stressed out! This looks amazing

  41. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 22:48:46

    Time-consuming recipes are always a “make once and that’s it” for me….I have no patience! This does look good though…and I love the name 🙂

  42. Tandy | Lavender and Lime
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 22:55:52

    Despite the effort, they look very good!

  43. Juliana
    Sep 03, 2013 @ 23:10:21

    Beautiful dessert…looks so elegant, I like the creamy texture mix with the crunchy…yum!
    Hope you are having a great week 😀

  44. Amy (Savory Moments)
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 05:47:26

    I give you props for making meringue – that’s something I’ve never done before.

  45. cquek
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 08:21:15

    I always know where to come when I’m craving something

  46. Alex @ Cookie Dough Katzen
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 11:02:26

    It looks beautiful!

  47. Claire D
    Sep 04, 2013 @ 12:59:48

    This looks amazing! I have made Floating Island for years but never with almonds – this is so clever and yummy looking – I love it!

  48. bitsandbreadcrumbs
    Sep 05, 2013 @ 16:45:51

    Something I love eating in a restaurant, but would never attempt. Yours looks beautiful and delicious!

  49. Alison
    Sep 05, 2013 @ 20:45:26

    This looks really, really, really good! I have never made Floating Islands and now want to try them! Thank you.

  50. Tanusree
    Sep 10, 2013 @ 00:24:53

    your plate looks so pretty. specially the islands..
    my meringue turned out fine but the custard became way too thick. so my islands had no sea to stay afloat in 😉

  51. Carolyn Jung
    Sep 11, 2013 @ 20:01:41

    Not the easiest dessert to make by any means. Congrats on your lovely effort.

  52. Trackback: Île Flottante / Floating Island with Caramel | Fae's Twist & Tango
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