Frenchie Friday: A Dreamy Island or Ile Flottante

Posted by on May 31, 2013 in Foodie Advice, Frenchie Fridays | 12 comments

ile flottante

It’s Frenchie Friday and Beth Fish’s #WeekendCooking and I’m dreaming about being on an island…of dessert. Something sinful, yet light. Something pretty and luscious. A dish that happens to be in my novel, BECOMING JOSEPHINE. It’s beautiful, decadent, and you’ll want to get to making it RIGHT NOW. Just be forewarned–you’re going to wish you had a bathtub of sauce to swim in.


For creme anglaise:

6 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups very hot milk
pinch salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter (optional)
2 Tbsp. rum or another liqueur (optional)

For meringue:

1 Tbsp. softened butter
1/4 cup sifted confectioners sugar
1 2/3 cups egg whites (about 12)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
large pinch salt
For caramel sauce:

1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
2-3 Tbsp. heavy cream
1 Tbsp. butter
For serving:

Fresh berries, optional


For creme anglaise:

Whisk egg yolks in a 2-quart saucepan, adding the sugar by spoonfuls–if it goes in all at once the yolks get gooey.

Continue beating 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Stir in the hot milk–not beating, because you do not want the sauce to foam.

Set the saucepan over moderately low heat, stir slowly with the wooden spoon, and reaching all over the bottom and sides of the pan. The sauce should almost simmer. Don’t overheat or scramble the yolks, but you must heat it enough to thicken. The sauce is done when it coats the wooden spoon with a light creamy layer thick enough to hold when you draw your finger across it.

Then beat in the vanilla, and the optional butter and rum. Serve warm, tepid, or cold.

For meringue:

Butter a straight-sided 4-quart baking dish 3″ deep and dust the inside with confectioners sugar, knocking out the excess. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Beat egg whites at moderate speed until the foam throughout, beat in the salt and cream of tartar, then gradually increase the speed to fast until soft peaks are formed.

Beat in sugar by spoonfuls and continue until stiff shining peaks are formed. Beat in the vanilla, and turn the meringue into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 35-40 minutes at 250 degrees F. Set in the lower middle of the oven and bake until the meringue has risen 3 to 4 inches.

Set the casserole on a rack. The meringue will sink down to about its original height as it cools.

For caramel sauce:

Blend the sugar and water in the saucepan and bring to the simmer. Remove from heat, and swirl the pan by its handle to be sure that the sugar has dissolved completely and the liquid is perfectly clear.

Cover the pan tightly and boil the syrup for several minutes over moderately high heat–and check it after a minute or so, and boil until the bubbles are thick. Uncover the pan and continue boiling. Swirl the pan slowly. The syrup will begin to color very quickly. Continue boiling and swirling until it is a light caramel brown, then remove from heat. Stir in the butter and cream.

Put back on the heat and cook over a low heat and stir with a fork until any hardened caramel melts and the sauce is smooth. Set the bottom of the pan in the cold water to cool it and stop the cooking.

To serve:

Pour the custard sauce into a serving platter (or individual dessert plates). Run a knife around the edge of the meringue dish and push with a rubber spatula to loosen. Unmold the meringue onto a cookie sheet. Cut it into 6-8 chunks and arrange them over the sauce.

Just before serving, reheat the caramel until you can lift the syrup with a fork and dribble thick strands over meringue.

Recipe is a version of Julia Child’s.


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Susan Spann

    This looks AMAZING. Absolutely delicious, and exactly the kind of thing for a summer dessert!

  2. Uniflame

    OMG! I love this! I think I would eat so much of it, if I would make this.

  3. jama

    Yum! Take me away to that dreamy island . . .thanks for the recipe!

  4. JoAnn @Lakeside Musing

    Beautiful!! This is one of my favorites, but I never make it because my husband is allergic to eggs.

  5. Carole

    This took me back to the last time I had this in France – it was part of a set menu in a little country auberge – fab

  6. caite@a lovely shore breeze

    I love meringue..this looks delightful..and I wish I could make it right now

  7. Tina

    This arrived in my in box and I was drooling! Love it.

  8. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz

    It would be lovely if you could bring a little over this afternoon. I’ll make a big pitcher of iced tea! Three-ish? See you then.

    Here’s my Weekend Cooking post.

  9. Cecelia

    Oh dear goodness. I think I want someone to make this for me!

  10. Beth F

    Oh my — please save me a place at the table. This sounds incredible.

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