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Floating Island Dessert

Meringue sphere covered with caramelized hazelnuts on crème Anglaise with the rest of the dessert.

5 from 6 reviews

Floating island dessert is a stunning French dessert, consisting of fluffy meringue atop a custard sea (creme Anglaise). Garnished with caramelized hazelnuts, it adds an elegant touch to any dinner.



For meringue:

  • 1/3 cup + 1 teaspoon (80 g) caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (180 g) egg whites, room temperature (see note #1)

For crème Anglaise:

  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons (500 ml) whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 sachet of vanilla sugar)

For caramelized nuts:

  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 5 teaspoons (25 g) water
  • 7 oz. (200 g) roasted hazelnuts
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 small pinch of salt

* If needed, please refer to Baking Conversion Charts.


  1. To make crème Anglaise, split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds. Mix egg yolks with vanilla seeds (or vanilla sugar) and sugar using a hand whisk.
  2. Place milk in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly.
  3. Bring everything into the saucepan back and cook over low to medium heat for about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring and tracing "8" with a wooden spatula. Stop cooking just before boiling (using a cooking thermometer, check the temperature that has to be between 179-183°F (82-84°C). Don't exceed the custard's temperature of 185°F (85°C)!
  4. Pass it through a fine-mesh sieve or chinois strainer into another bowl set over a larger container with ice cubes so that the cooking stops. Cover with plastic film in contact and refrigerate until serving.
  5. To make the meringue, preheat the oven to 355°F (180°C). Using a stand or electric mixer, beat egg whites at moderate speed, then increase the speed and continue until soft peaks are formed. Gradually add the caster sugar and whisk to get the glossy meringue with stiff peaks.
  6. Using a brush, lightly oil the cavities of the half-sphere molds. With a pastry bag fitted with Ateco plain pastry tip 809 or simply with a spoon, place the meringue into half-spheres and even top with a bent spatula. Bake for 3 minutes on the middle rack of the oven (no baking sheet is required).
  7. Remove the mold from the oven, and let it stand for a few minutes. Turn out the mold onto parchment paper and slightly press each half-sphere to release the baked meringue. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
  8. To caramelize nuts, roast hazelnuts at 355°F (180°C) for 12 minutes. Place water and sugar in a saucepan and cook till the temperature is 239°F (115°C). Add the toasted nuts and caramelize them while constantly stirring with a spatula. At first, hazelnuts will be covered with the sugar syrup; then, they will get coated with sugar. Finally, the sugar will start melting and caramelizing, coating the nuts. At this point, add butter and salt, stirring constantly.
  9. Transfer caramelized hazelnuts to parchment paper and let cool. Crush lightly using a food processor and keep in an airtight plastic box.
  10. To serve the dessert, assemble two half-spheres, and roll them into crushed caramelized nuts. Pour crème Anglaise into a serving plate and arrange a meringue sphere over the custard sauce. 


  1. 180 g egg whites, approximately equal to 5 1/2 raw fresh egg whites from large-sized chicken eggs.
  2. While making crème Anglaise, make sure to stir the custard evenly with a wooden spatula. Do not let the custard boil! Once the white foam has disappeared and the custard coats the back of a spatula well and holds a trace while drawing your finger across it, crème Anglaise is ready. Use this test if you do not have a cooking thermometer.
  3. To prevent crème Anglaise from overcooking, use a container with ice cubes or a cold water bath to cool the custard as quickly as possible.
  4. If the custard has boiled and got overcooked (the eggs coagulate and form lumps), strain it through a fine-mesh sieve and give it a few mixer strokes to remove all the lumps. Your custard will become smooth again.
  5. Use grapeseed oil or vegetable oil to brush silicone half-spheres before baking.
  6. Make-ahead option: Make crème Anglaise, cover with plastic in contact, and store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Make caramelized nuts and keep them in an airtight container. Bake meringue half-spheres, turn them on parchment and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.





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