Floating Island (Ile de Flottante)

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Floating Swans with Christmas-Spiced Crème AnglaiseAdapted from a recipe by Vicky McDonald


For the crème Anglaise (custard)

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) cream
  • 5 tablespoons (75g) sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon (0.5ml) cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon (0.5ml) ginger powder
  • Sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg

For the caramel flourish

  • 3 tablespoons (45g) sugar

For the floating islands (meringue)

  • 4 egg whites
  • 7 tablespoons (105g) sugar

For the poaching liquid

  • 2 cups (480 ml) water
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) sugar


For the custard

  1. Fill and preheat the SousVide Supreme to 179F/82C.
  2. Put the egg yolks, milk, cream, sugar and spices into a food processor (or whisk together in a bowl).
  3. Pulse or whisk just enough to combine and form a smooth yellow custard mixture. Do not over mix.
  4. Divide the custard mixture equally between two (quart/0.9 liter) zip-closure cooking pouches. (It is a large amount of liquid and cooks more evenly in two pouches.)
  5. Use the displacement method (Archimedes’ principle) to remove the air and zip the seals closed; submerge the pouches in the water bath to cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the pouches from the water bath and quick chill them, submerged in ice water (half ice/half water) for 15 minutes and then refrigerate.

For the caramel flourish

  1. Put the sugar into a heavy-bottomed pan and melt it over medium heat. Don’t stir the sugar syrup, but you can gently swirl it from the side to side as it heats.
    Allow the sugar syrup to cook and become a golden caramel color and as soon as it has, take the pan off the heat.
  2. Allow the caramel to cool for a minute or two, then carefully pour it onto a sheet of parchment paper.  You can create swirls and different designs (making swan necks or wings or tail feathers or just random shapes) as you pour the caramel.
  3. Leave the caramel pieces to cool and harden.

For the floating island meringue

  1. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. With the motor still running, gradually add the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time. When all the sugar is mixed in, continue to beat the egg whites until they form stiff shiny peaks.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, milk and sugar and cook until the sugar has fully dissolved. Keep the liquid over a low to medium heat, but do not let it boil.
  3. Using, two large serving spoons, shape the meringue (egg whites) into large quenelles. (Take a spoon of the meringue, then transfer it into the other spoon, and continue to alternate between the spoons until you have a smooth oval of meringue.)
  4. As you complete each shaped quenelle, carefully lower it into the hot poaching liquid. Work in batches (about 4 at a time) to prevent overcrowding.
    Let them poach gently for about 4 minutes, then carefully turn them and poach them for about 4 minutes on the other side.
  5. Once the quenelles are cooked, transfer them gently to a wire rack to drain.
    Continue to form and cook the rest of the quenelles. This mixture should make about 14 quenelles.


  1. Remove the crème Anglaise from the refrigerator and divide it among 6 or 7 serving dishes or into one large serving bowl.
  2. Put one quenelle into each bowl and decorate with the caramel flourish.
  3. Serve straight away.
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This recipe is perfect for the SousVide Supreme!

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