ll Cibo é L'essenza Della Vita....

"The rooms that you use on a daily basis are the rooms people will always want to sit in, because they have soul." --Bunny Williams


"If you want to live forever and ever, drink wine and eat maccheroni." ~~~Sicilian Proverb

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Floating Islands for Foodie Friday


In Italian that's Venerdi.

So that makes it time for Venerdi Foodie, or as we all know it, Foodie Friday

Yay! Our favorite day of the week! 

Come join us at Designs by Gollum for Michael's fabulous party- your taste buds will thank you.

We wanted to do a special dessert this week, but as I mentioned yesterday I haven't been home much and it's been pretty hectic. Then I thought about a dessert that I've made many times over the years and ALWAYS get requests for when I'm catering a dinner party.

A dessert that went through a period of popularity back when I was a child- many a genteel lady served this at her elegant dinner parties or ladies' luncheons. It never fails to impress and the best part is that most of the components can be made a day in advance.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the French "L'Iles Flottantes"- better known in America as

 Floating Islands

A lovely vanilla infused Creme Anglaise upon which floats a mound of light as air Meringue topped with a drizzle of Caramel and, in my version, a drizzle of Raspberry Coulis. The top is then sprinkled with crumbled Praline

This is a showstopper dessert- light and perfect after any meal from Chateau Briand to Carolina Barbecue!  :)

** TIP- If you want to take a tropical meal right over the top, float a scoop of mango sorbet alongside the meringue- trust me on this- worth EVERY extra calorie

The custard, caramel, praline, and the coulis (which is optional, but highly recommended) can all be made the day before. The meringues should be made within a couple of hours of serving.
To make a day in advance, leave the caramel and praline at room temperature and refrigerate the creme anglaise and the coulis.


L'Iles Flottante

2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 cup water, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
8 extra large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 3/4 cups scalded milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 vanilla bean- split and seeds scraped out
1 1/2 teaspoons cognac
To Serve: Raspberry Coulis in a squirt bottle

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

FOR THE CARAMEL: Heat 1 1/2 cup of the sugar and 1/2 cup of the water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Cook over medium heat until the syrup turns a warm caramel color. Don't stir, just swirl it in the pan. Turn off the heat, add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 teaspoons of the vanilla; be careful, the syrup will bubble up hard. Stir gently with a whisk constantly and cook over high heat until the caramel reaches 230 degrees F.  on a candy thermometer. Set aside.

PRALINE: Combine the almonds with 1/4 cup of the caramel and spread them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 12 minutes, until the almonds are lightly browned. Allow to cool at room temperature and then break up in pieces. Lower the oven to 250°F Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

MERINGUES: Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy. Turn the mixer on high speed and add the remaining 1 cup of sugar. Beat until the egg whites are very stiff and glossy.
Whisk in the remaining teaspoon of vanilla. With dessert spoons place 12 mounds of meringue on parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes, or until just barely coloring and a cake tester comes out clean.

CREME ANGLAISE: Beat the egg yolks and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, or until very thick. Reduce to low speed, and add the cornstarch. With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the hot milk into the eggs. Pour the custard mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thickened. The custard will coat the spoon like heavy cream. Don't cook it above 180F or the eggs will scramble! Pour the sauce through a fine strainer, add the vanilla extract, Cognac, and vanilla seeds, if using, and chill.  Pour creme anglaise on the bottom of individual plates. Place a meringue on top of each serving, drizzle with caramel sauce and raspberry coulis if using (trust me- use it!), sprinkle with praline, and serve.

As Always,

Buon Cibo, Buon Amici,

Pattie and Allie


    1. Oh Pattie - I adore L'ile flotante. Why can't you live here in VA - we'd have a great time cooking for each other.


    2. how come you never made this for me? next to chocolate, caramel is my favorite!

    3. This is something new to me even if I am old enough to remember this classic dish. Caramel has always been a favourite in the MTBT household.

    4. You always have the most delicious tasting, and looking, recipes. I had not even heard of this but I definitely want to try it. It does look impressive.

      Thanks Pattie!

    5. I love the combination of raspberry, praline and the creme anglais...such a tasty dessert.

    6. What a fabulous cook you are, Pattie! And it looks so gorgeous too! Have a wonderful wknd!
      Blessings, Beth

    7. This is a new recipe for me! I am going to share it with Tony! Looks like something we would love to try :)
      Wishing you a sweet weekend!

    8. What a fabulous dessert! I've never made this before but it sounds lovely and so company-worthy!

    9. I have heard of this dessert but, have never tried it. I don't think any restaurant that I have been to has offered it. It looks fabulous!

    10. Love this dessert. How tasty it must be. Just wonderful!

    11. Oh Yum! That looks great!

      I have linked up with Food Friday too, and given my recipe for Torte Di Patate.

      Hope you girls can pop over on Monday for "Mia Monday" Share a story about a Neighbor...the good, bad, funny or indifferent.

      Warm wishes,


    12. I've never heard of this dessert and I'm glad to learn more about it. You post the best sounding recipes.

      Enjoy the weekend!

    13. Hi Ladies, I also never heard of this dessert. I love reading your latest post to learn something new and new culinary vocabulary. The dinner napkins are so pretty with your glass dessert dishes. Our son graduates high school today and I will look up past posts to recreate recipes for a future special dinner. Thank you for all the fresh and pretty ideas for celebrating family and home. Take care~Emelia~

    14. Pattie, this looks so delicious. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful dessert!

    15. Mmmmmmm..Pattie your L'Iles Flottante looks so rich and decadent. It would make a wonderful indulgent treat for Father's Day this weekend.
      ♥ Pat

    16. Pattie, these look wonderful. I don't do a lot of work with meringue these days because our climate is so damp. Years ago floating island was a favorite dessert of mine. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

    17. Wow..not only does this sound good, it is beautiful, too..

    18. I would love this dessert! Looks delicious.

    19. Can you hear me clapping my hands, Pattie? I love this dessert and haven't had it in years. My mother used to make it and it was a family favorite.

      Have a wonderful, happy weekend.

    20. I have never made it, but it looks devine and definitely a show stopper! Joni

    21. You have some of the most amazing desserts I've ever seen, Pattie! Just amazing!

      Love this...


      Sheila :-)

    22. OH WOW!!! you have a AWESOME!!! dessert, I LOVE!!! everything about it. JUST WONDERFUL!!!

    23. That looks like it is just about the perfect dessert!! I've ben MIA lately but will be back!

    24. I wish I had one right now! It looks wonderful!

    25. Wow, this looks amazing, but I want I really have my eyes on is that napkin. It's absolutely beautiful.

      I hope you'll join my meme, "Summer Sundays". It's all about what summer means to YOU. Hope you'll come join the fun.

      - The Tablescaper

    26. oh my goodness girls, ya'll make food look like art and I bet its super yummy too...your table setting is always lovely..

      hugs and happy thoughts

    27. Pattie, I kept reading the list of ingredients and kept saying, oh my... oh my...! Each and every ingredient sounds so wonderful on it's own but combined... oh, my! It should be called Yvonne's perfect dessert dream!
      This is a keeper recipe for sure! I have never made it before. Well, I'll take care of that.
      Another one for the Bramasole file!

    28. Ladies, you've outdone yourselves again..... I love this dessert, but mine never looked this good.... great recipe.... love you ladies, mike

    29. I've never made this but it sounds heavenly and looks very glamorous. I'll keep it in mind for a special occasion!

    30. I have ordered this several times, but never made one. It is just beautiful!


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