Floating Islands Dessert Recipe

Floating Islands Dessert Recipe

This well-known dessert gets its name from the poached meringues surrounded by a "Sea" of creme anglaise. This version is given a touch of the exotic through the addition of star anise and is served with a rich coffee sauce.

Ingredients : (Serves 6)

For the Coffee Creme Anglaise

150 ml/¼ pint milk

150 ml/¼ pint single (light) cream

120 ml/4 fl oz/½ cup strong brewed coffee

4 egg yolks

25 g/1 oz/2tablespoons soft light brown sugar

5 ml/1 teaspoon cornstarch (cornflour)

For the Caramel Sauce

90 g/3½ oz/½ cup caster (superfine) sugar

For the Poached Meringues

2 egg whites

50 g/2 oz/¼ cup caster (superfine) sugar

1.5 ml/¼ teaspoon ground star anise

A pinch of salt

Method :

To make the coffee creme Anglaise, pour the milk, cream and coffee into a pan and heat to boiling point. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, brown sugar and cornstarch together until creamy. Whisk in the hot coffee mixture, then pour the entire mixture back into the pan. Heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring until the sauce thickens. Take off the heat and leave to cool, stirring occasionally. Pour back into the bowl.


Cover the bowl with clear film (plastic wrap) and place in the refrigerator. For the caramel, put the sugar in a small heavy pan with 45 ml/3 tablespoons water and heat very gently until dissolved. Boil rapidly until the syrup turns a rich golden color. Off the heat, carefully add 45 ml/3 tablespoons hot water - it will splutter. Leave to cool.


To make the meringues, whisk the egg whites until stiff. Combine the sugar and star anise; add to the egg whites. Pour 2.5 cm/1 in boiling water into a large frying pan. Add the salt and bring to a gently simmer. Shape the meringue into small ovals, using two spoons, and add to the water. Poach four or five of the meringues at a time for about 3 minutes, until firm.


Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining mixture. To serve, spoon a little coffee creme Anglaise on to each serving plate. Float two or three "island" on top, then drizzle with caramel sauce.

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