Everyone Should Make This French Dessert at Least Once

Floating Islands/Iles Flottantes

Floating Islands (or Iles Flottantes) is one of those desserts that tastes even better than it looks. (Frankly, sometimes it’s the other way around, don’t you find?) Moist, airy, light and sweet meringues float over a pool of cool and rich crème anglaise, with a little drizzle of chocolate sauce and/or caramel sauce here and there. It’s a super dessert barbecue in summer or stews in winter.

While I’m sure that some restaurant somewhere in the U.S. serves this, I haven’t seen it outside of France. That means no one at your table will likely think to themselves, “Oh, heavens. Iles Flottants–again?”

The only tricky thing is poaching the meringues, but the nice thing about this recipe is that you end up with a little more beaten egg white mixture than you need, so you can practice-poach a few meringues until you get the hang of it.

A few tips for poaching meringues:

* Do not allow the water to go above a simmer—the water is simmering when just a few bubbles rise, and they burst before they reach the surface.

* Avoid overcooking; 1 minute per side should do it. When finished cooking, the meringues should still be soft and airy, but not sticky.

* The meringues will puff up while they poach, but will deflate a little after they stand. (If they deflate while you’re cooking them, you’ve cooked them too long. Discard and start again.)

That’s all you need to know….except the recipe, which you’ll find here.

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