Floating Islands with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

  • Active Time 45m
  • Total Time 1h 45m

4 servings

This old fashioned French dessert is a classic. With the use of a heavy-duty mixer, the "islands" are surprisingly easy to make -- and yet very impressive. Classically the meringues are topped with caramelized sugar, but in this recipe, I prefer the contrast of the bittersweet chocolate.


  • For Crème Anglaise:
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • For Floating Islands:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce (see recipe)

Companion recipe: Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce


FOR CREME ANGLAISE: Combine egg yolks and sugar in bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer. Using whisk attachment, beat until pale yellow. Bring cream, milk and vanilla bean to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Gradually mix hot cream mixture into egg yolks; return mixture to saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat back of spoon, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Transfer mixture to bowl. Chill until cold.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Crème anglaise can be made 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.

FOR FLOATING ISLANDS: Combine sugar and 1 tablespoon water in clean bowl of stand mixer. Stir until sugar dissolves slightly. Add egg whites and cream of tartar. Set mixing bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir egg white mixture gently and constantly with rubber spatula until instant read thermometer reaches 160 degrees F when inserted into egg whites, about 8 minutes. Immediately remove from heat. Using electric stand mixer, beat egg mixture with whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and salt and continue beating until firm peaks form.

Add enough water to 12 inch-diameter skillet to come 1 inch up sides. Bring water to simmer. Reduce heat to low. Using 2 large wooden spoons, gently shape 1/4 meringue mixture (about 1 cup) into large oval. Using spoon, carefully transfer shaped meringue to water. Cover with domed lid and cook until meringue is just barely firm to touch, about 5 minutes. Transfer cooked meringue to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining meringue mixture, creating 4 individual meringues total.

DO-AHEAD TIP: Meringues can be made 1 day ahead. Store in covered container and refrigerate.

Divide crème anglaise among 4 shallow bowls. Place 1 meringue in each bowl atop crème anglaise. Drizzle lightly with Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce and serve.

Recipe created exclusively for Cooking.com by Jeanne Thiel Kelley.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.

RecID 6346

nutrition information per serving

562 calories; 34g total fat; 285mg cholesterol; 147mg sodium; 58g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 11g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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