La Boulange's Floating Islands

[Photograph: David Vergne]

La Boulange: Cafe Cooking at Home delivers a fuss-free recipe for utterly charming meringue islands floating in pools of crème anglaise and drizzled with just-warm caramel sauce.

Reprinted with permission by Pascal Rigo. Copyright © 2013. Published by Chronicle Books. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

La Boulange's Floating Islands

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4
Active time:40 minutes
Total time:1 hour 20 minutes
This recipe appears in: Bake the Book: Floating Islands


  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 8 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Crème Anglaise
  • For the Caramel Sauce
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • For the Crème Anglaise
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. 1

    Make the Crème Anglaise: Combine the milk and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Whisk to blend, and heat for 2 minutes at high power in the microwave.

  2. 2

    Add the sugar to the hot milk and cream mixture. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and whisk well.

  3. 3

    Microwave for 1 minute longer, whisk again. Set aside to cool. (You can store the creme anglaise, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.)

  4. 4

    Make the Caramel Sauce: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream, vanilla bean, butter and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm while you caramelize the sugar. In a large saucepan, heat the sugar over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved and turns golden brown.

  5. 5

    Add the cream mixture to the sugar, a little at a time, stirring constantly.

  6. 6

    Remove from the heat and continue to stir until you have a smooth, creamy sauce. It will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  7. 7

    Assemble the floating islands: Gather your ingredients.

  8. 8

    In a large skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds until browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

  9. 9

    In a large bowl, beat the egg white and salt with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.

  10. 10

    Add the sugar and beat for about 1 minute more.

  11. 11

    Line a large plate with parchment paper. Spoon four generous mounds of the beaten egg white onto the plate. Microwave, uncovered, for 30-45 seconds on high power.

  12. 12

    Pour enough crème anglaise into a bowl to float an island in the crème and drizzle with caramel. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

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