When we go out to eat in France, if there’s îles flottantes on the menu, chances are my daughter and I will not be able to resist it. Here’s my recipe.

Îles flottantes is truly one of the simplest and most luscious desserts. Magic happens when you put a fluffy meringue in a cold pool of crème anglaise and drizzle it with sweet caramel. Let me show you how I make this decadent French classic.

Îles Flottantes
Serves 4


  • 1L milk
  • 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 210g fine sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice, plus a few drops for the caramel
  • 1 vanilla pod, split down the middle and the seeds scraped out
  • 2 tbsps water
  • 2 tbsps almond slivers, toasted


Warm the milk in a large, wide pan. In a very clean bowl, whisk 2 of the egg whites with the tsp of lemon juice. Once they start to take shape, start adding in 30g of the sugar little by little. Continue whisking until stiff. Drop 4 mounds of the egg whites (half the amount) into the simmering milk and poach them for 3 minutes on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Do the same with the rest of the meringues. You will end up with 8 poached meringues. Sift 650ml of the milk into a measuring jug. Stir in the vanilla and put it back on a very low heat. In a large bowl, whisk the 4 yolks with 80g of the sugar until creamy but not voluminous. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and pour it back into the jug. Slowly start adding it to the yolks and sugar while whisking. Return the mixture to the pan and stir it continuously with a wooden spoon over a medium heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Divide the custard over 4 serving bowls or shallow plates and top each serving with two meringues. Place the dishes in the fridge for at least an hour but no more than 4 hours. Make the caramel when ready to serve. Put the rest of the sugar (100g) and water into a medium saucepan and stir well. Place it over a medium heat and swirl it every now and then once it starts to bubble. Add in a few drops of lemon juice and carefully stir it with a metal spoon. Keep stirring until it starts to color. Remove from the heat once the caramel is amber, it will continue to cook, so do not allow it to get too dark. Be very careful when making caramel as it can cause awful burns! Drizzle the caramel over the îles flottantes, sprinkle with the almond slivers and serve.