Vanilla Bean Floating Island (dairy free)

Floating Island is an old-fashioned dessert made by “floating” puffs of meringue in a little sea of crème anglaise. The meringues are often poached in a liquid, but in this case I baked them until they were set, but still soft.  I also replaced the cream with coconut milk, and used raw honey in place of the sugar.

Vanilla Bean Floating Island

A puffy little vanilla-scented island.  Because I tend to be lazy when I cook, I made the custard using a blender method and I did not strain the cooked custard.  The texture was still excellent, so I strongly encourage the lazy method, as explained in the recipe.  I would also add that I thought the resulting dessert was a little too sweet, but I acknowledge that my sweet tolerance is lower than most.  So, in the recipe I listed honey amounts that I actually used, but feel free to cut back on the amounts if you also prefer desserts on the less-sweet side.  Honey is potently sweet.

Vanilla Bean Floating Island (dairy free)
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, shaken (13 to 15 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional: slivered almonds, lightly toasted
  1. Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a bowl suitable for whisking them to stiff peaks.
  2. Place the egg yolks, coconut milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons raw honey, and pinch of salt in a blender. Blend until very smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and add in the vanilla bean. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce starts to form tiny bubbles around the edges and begins to thicken. Do NOT let this come to a boil--you want to warm it to cook the egg and thicken the sauce. When the custard is thick enough to coat a spoon, remove it from heat and fish out the vanilla bean.
  3. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Add the cream of tartar and remaining honey and vanilla extract to the egg whites. Beat until stiff peaks form. Use a rubber spatula to mound the egg whites into six rounds on the parchment paper--they will retain the shape they have when they go into the oven, so shape them as desired before you bake them. Bake for 20 minutes, or until they are just set and light golden.
  5. To serve, spoon some of the custard into a serving dish, and use a spatula to carefully remove a meringue and place it on top of the custard. Top with some of the toasted almonds, if desired.

Vanilla Bean Floating Island

I love custard-type desserts and find them extremely comforting, so I found this worth the effort of going through the various steps.  You can make the custard in advance if you like, just cover the surface with waxed paper and refrigerate until ready to use.  I don’t recommend making the meringues in advance, however, as they will get weepy.

Thanks for reading,


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Recommended Articles


  1. This look great, and I think my kids would really like it! Love that you used honey and coconut milk.

  2. I love your version of this dish. This looks so simple but yet so special.

  3. I never made anything like that – looks beautiful!! Will have to try! ( :

    1. Thanks, Tina!

  4. What a simply beautiful dessert idea. I love meringue when soft like this (not so fond of the crunchy kind!). I also love the idea of a lazy custard. Who knew?

    1. I’m with you, I love soft meringue. I am also allllll about lazy.

  5. How much cream would you use instead of coconut milk, if not avoiding dairy?

    1. Jen, I would go with two cups of heavy cream–or half and half, which will taste great but will have a thinner texture.

  6. Mmmmnnn. I love custard type desserts. It looks so pretty too.

  7. Looks great! I’ve been eating a lot of coconut flavored anything and everything lately. 🙂

  8. As a little girl I used to eat Floating Island at a French restaurant with my grandparents. I loved it! I have never made it myself. Thank you for the recipe. I will give it a try. 🙂

  9. Is the oven temperature in C or F?

    1. Hi Michelle: All recipes are in Fahrenheit.

  10. Hi, there are COMPLETELY NO stiff peak form after adding JUST SOME of the tartar to the egg whites. Just some foamy liquid.. Have you really tried doing like this, or anyone else, with true success??
    thanks a lot.. again, a wrongly made floating island. Now I put the liquid in small cupcake forms, hopefully for a second chance dessert…

  11. Sorry, now I looked up the true nature of the cream of I ommitted that, and I though instead that tartar is the egg-yolky stuff which is the other part of the recipe..

    1. Kata, yeah, it really does help with whipping the egg whites–it will work without it, but you will have to beat the egg whites longer and it still can weep.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.