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.
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.
- 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
- Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a bowl suitable for whisking them to stiff peaks.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- 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.
- 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.
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,