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Floating Islands Iles Flottantes a Dessert from France

Floating Islands (Iles Flottantes) are a traditional French dessert that you find on classic menus. Not quite a pudding, not a custard and not a creme brulée, Floating Islands are a delicious finish to a meal.

This dessert was part of a menu that I created for my virtual cooking class, “Fusion Vegetarian Menu Inspired by My Travels in France and Morocco!” The menu included four vegetarian courses: Cheese Soufflé, Grilled Moroccan Vegetable Kabobs, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Lime Crème Fraiche & Floating Islands (Iles Flottantes)
During the class, I gave attendees tips on how to plate your courses in the style of Michelin Star restaurants.

Dessert from France Floating Islands (Iles Flottantes)

Floating Islands (Iles Flottantes)

Tasha PowellTasha Powell
This is a classic dessert with a few steps, but you can skip the Crème Anglaise and use vanilla ice cream (see "out of time" note).
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 40 mins
Resting Time (see notes) 4 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 8 people

Equipment

  • Stand-up Mixer
  • Whisk, offset spatula, squeeze bottle (for caramel), slotted spoon, pot.

Ingredients
 
 

Ingredients for the Floating Islands:

  • 4 Egg Whites reserve the egg yolks for the crème anglaise
  • ¼ tsp Cream of Tartar
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 oz Granulated Sugar

Ingredients for Decoration:

  • 4 oz Caramel in a squeeze bottle
  • 8 Sliced Almonds
  • Option: Garnish with edible gold from Easy Leaf Products!

Ingredients for Crème Anglaise (Vanilla Cream):

  • 8 oz Whole Milk
  • 8 oz Heavy Cream
  • ½ Vanilla Bean split and scrape the beans
  • 2 oz Granulated Sugar
  • 4 large Egg Yolks

Instructions
 

Instructions for the Floating Islands:

  • In a shallow 12” pan, fill halfway with water and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Gently place a heaping tablespoon of whipped egg white and poach for 4 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, take out the finished island and store on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

To Make the Crème Anglaise – vanilla cream:

  • Pour milk and cream into a small pot, and scald. Add vanilla from pod to enhance the flavour
  • In a bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks until light yellow, then temper with the milk/cream, constantly whisking to avoid cooking the eggs.
  • Now cook in a double boiler until the mixture becomes thick (sticks to/coats the back of a wooden spoon). In French, that is called Nappé! Now, chill the pan in an ice bath for 10 minutes and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Plating Ideas:

  • Use 2 oz. serving to plate your Ile Flottante – I recommend a shallow bowl!
  • Use an offset spatula to transfer a poached egg island, then decorate with caramel (in a squeeze bottle) and slivers of almonds).
  • Option: Use Gold Flakes from Easy Leaf Productions to transform your dessert from Ordinary to Extraordinary

Notes

Order gold & silver flakes and shimmer from Easy Leaf Productions
Notes for the timing:
Prep time egg whites/poaching egg whites:  20 minutes
Prep time for egg whites to cool: 5 minutes.
Time to plate with crème anglaise (vanilla cream), caramel and almond slices: 15 minutes.
Time to prepare crème anglaise: 40 minutes
Time to cool crème anglaise: 4 hours
Out of time Tip: *For purposes of this recipe, buy some French vanilla ice cream and set aside 16 oz (let it melt) or make the crème anglaise with the recipe below the day before the class.
Keyword Custards, Eggs, French Desserts
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Other Traditional French Desserts:

Classic French Lemon Tart
There are three (3) steps to prepare this lemon tart: make the dough, prepare the filling, and bake. The recipe (below) is the beginner's version of a quick and easy filling that will satisfy everyone in your family.
Check out this recipe
Homemade French Lemon Tart Desserts

Apple Tarte Tatin aux Pommes
This variation of Tarte tatin uses puff pastry. Alternatively, you can make your own shortcrust pastry.
Check out this recipe
Apple Tarte Tatin Dessert Finished
Pine Nut Tart (Tarte aux Pignons)
This recipe includes the pie crust, which is easy to make. However, if you would rather skip that step you can buy a prepared pie crust. If you like shortbread cookies, you will like this crust, and the sweet filling speaks for itself.
Check out this recipe
Pine Nut Tart (Tarte aux Pignons)
Tarte aux Prunes - Prune Plum Tart
This fall tart is easy to make and beautiful. The tart may be served warm or at room temperature. To really take it over the top, serve with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream!
Check out this recipe
Tarte aux Prunes Prune Plum Tart
Tarte aux Fraises
A light and refreshing tart filled with custard and adorned with the season's finest strawberries.
Check out this recipe
tarte aux fraises #TastesofProvence @CocoaandLavender

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Tasha Powell

Tasha Powell

Tasha Powell is a food stylist and writer who specializes in working with celebrity chefs and leaders in the hospitality industry. She cooks and styles for monographs, cookbooks and Satellite Media Tours, working between North America and Europe. Take a look at her mouthwatering photos on Cooking with a French Twist. Since July 2020, she has offered themed Zoom cooking classes influenced by her travels in France and Morocco. Here are a few:

• Fusion Vegetarian Menu: Cheese Soufflé, Grilled Vegetable Kabobs, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Lime Crème Fraiche & Floating Islands
• Fall in Provence: Carrot Soup, Seared Duck Breast and Chocolate & Pear Tarte
• 3-Course Gluten-Free Menu: Panisse, Grilled Shrimp & Chocolate Towers with Michelin Star plating techniques
• Food Styling Tips: Apéro Dînatoire, presentation & plating
• 4-Course Gluten-Free Menu: Cauliflower Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce, Zucchini Rollups, Roasted Leek Salad & Chocolate Lava Cakes, Michelin Star plating techniques
• Just Stuffed! Stuffed Aubergines, Tomatoes & Zucchini
• Provençal Cuisine: Baked Ratatouille Tian & Tarte du Soleil
• Add Sparkle, Shimmer, Silver and Gold to Your Culinary Presentations! By Lynn Neuberg of Easy Leaf Products and Chef Tasha Powell

Class listings can be found at Chef Tasha Events

Tasha also arranges culinary tours with Barbara Pitcher in Provence, France, in Marrakech, Morocco, in Sicily, Italy and in Parry Sound, Canada under Pitcher and Powell Cuisine and Culture.

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