No Man is an Island, but how about an "Île flottante"? / by Alice Zhao

written by Mr. Eat a Duck I Must
I found this recipe for a floating island from the same Gourmet issue as the lemon curd we used with the pavlova. The creme anglaise recipe was altered and I replaced basil with vanilla for a more traditional recipe.


Crème anglaise

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
3 large egg yolks

  • Split the vanilla bean and scrape the pod
  • Bring cream, sugar, vanilla bean, vanilla paste and a pinch of salt just to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
  • Let it steep covered for 30 minutes.
  • Put yolks in a small bowl.
  • Whisk about 1/2 cup warm milk mixture into yolks, then whisk into remaining milk in saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  • Remove the vanilla bean and transfer custard sauce to a bowl and chill, stirring occasionally, until cold, about 2 hours.


Lemon blancs en neige
1 (1/4-ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 cup boiling-hot water
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 large egg whites at room temperature 30 minutes

  • Stir gelatin into cold water in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes.
  • Stir in hot water, sugar, and lemon zest and juice until sugar has dissolved.
  • Set bowl in an ice bath and stir often until mixture is cold and thickened (consistency will be similar to that of raw egg whites), about 45 minutes.
  • Beat gelatin mixture with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until very frothy, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, beat whites until they hold soft peaks.
  • Add whites to gelatin mixture and beat at high speed until tripled in volume and thick enough to form a wide flat ribbon that holds its shape on top of mixture when beater is lifted, about 5 minutes (longer if using a hand-held mixer).
  • Transfer to a large serving bowl and chill until set, about 3 hours.


Light and airy with a refreshing lemon flavor, I coudln't stop eating this all week.  And when I ran out of the "island", I dipped fresh strawberries into the creme anglaise.