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Ile Flottante Recipe

When at last they came to dessert – ile flottante, islands of toasted meringue floating in a rich creme anglaise – there was a satisfied silence. (The Nightingale)

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Ile Flottante Recipe found at and in Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home.

Prep: 2 1/2 hours | Bake: 20-25 minutes | Yield: 12 meringues



Earlier in the day or day before prepare the caramel sauce, almond pralines and creme anglaise.

Caramel Sauce

  • 1-1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla

Almond Pralines

  • 1/4 cup of the prepared caramel sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups of slivered almonds

Creme Anglaise

  • 4 extra-large (or 5 large) egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
  • 1-3/4 cup milk, scalded
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons of cognac or bourbon

1-2 hours before guests arrive, prepare the meringues.  Assemble the ile flottantes just before serving.


  • 8 extra-large (or 10 large) egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 1 cup of sugar


Earlier in the day or day before prepare the caramel sauce, almond pralines and creme anglaise.

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. For the caramel sauce, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and 1/2 cup of water.   Stir until sugar dissolves.  Bring syrup to a boil,  stirring once or twice.  Then, do not stir the mixture but gently swirl it instead, until the syrup becomes a medium amber color.  Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining 1/2 cup of water.  Be very careful because the mixture will bubble and foam.  Stir well.  Add a pinch of Kosher salt and the vanilla.  Stir well and return to heat.  Increase heat to high and attach a candy thermometer.  Cook until the caramel is almost at 230°F on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.  Transfer to bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Leave at room temperature.
  3. For the pralines, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, combine the almonds and 1/4 cup of the caramel sauce. Spread the pralines out over the parchment paper and place in preheated oven for 10 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  Break up into little pieces, then coarsely chop.  Store in container until ready to use.
  4. For the creme anglaise, fit an electric stand mixture with the paddle attachment.  Beat the egg yolks and sugar together on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, or until very thick.  Reduce speed to low and add cornstarch.  Then, while mixer is still running, very slowly, stream the hot milk into the egg mixture.  Pour the mixture into a medium-sized sauce pan and cook over low heat.  Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens.  The custard should coat the spoon.  Make sure the temperature of the custard does not exceed 180°F.  Pour the custard through a fine strainer, then stir in vanilla and cognac. Allow the custard to cool, then cover and chill until ready to assemble the ile flottantes.

1-2 hours before guests arrive, prepare the meringue.  Assemble the ile flottantes just before serving.

  1. Set  oven rack in lower third of oven.  Preheat the oven to 250°F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. For the meringues, fit an electric stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy.  Increase the speed to high and gradually add the sugar.  Beat until the eggs whites are very stiff and glossy.  Gently whisk in the vanilla.  Scoop 12 mounds on to the parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 25-30 minutes.  When meringues are done, they should be a very light golden brown and toothpick inserted in meringue comes out clean.  Allow meringues to cool before assembling.
  3. To assemble and serve the ile flottantes, pour about 2 tablespoons of chilled creme anglaise on the bottom of an individual serving plate.  Carefully remove the meringue from the baking sheet and place it over the creme anglaise.  Drizzle the caramel sauce over the meringue (if caramel sauce is set, microwave for about 20 seconds to soften), then sprinkle the top with almond praline.

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