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discover the history and the easy recipe of this popular dessert in french restaurants

When you like desserts: nothing better than a good floating island with its custard. It is one of the desserts that are often proposed in traditional French restaurants. Quite simple in terms of ingredients, it requires a little help, but you are sure to please your guests. Discover the history of the floating island and our easy recipe.


A brief history of the floating island

Already, the floating island, it is snow eggs. The designation "ile flottante" arrived in the 19th century at the same time as the dessert on the bourgeois tables. Before, we rather speak about "egg in snow". It is besides under this name that one crosses the ancestor of the recipe in the XVIIth century with yolks mixed with butter and salt, cooked separately, whereas one whips the whites and that one sugars them before serving them on top of the yolks. André Viard, author of culinary bestsellers, mentions "oeufs à la neige" in his "Cuisinier impérial" as early as 1806. It was in 1886 that the term "ile flottante" (floating island) first appeared in a newspaper instead of "oeufs en neige" (snow eggs). We put some rose water or orange blossom in it. That said, it must be admitted that some people speak of an English origin of the recipe, notably the great chef Auguste Escoffier who speaks of an English recipe of floating island, but one can doubt it since he uses cookie of Savoy. 

Une ile flottante / photo par Glenn Price/ Une ile flottante / photo par Glenn Price/ 


The recipe in 4 steps

Ingredients for 6 people


  • 6 eggs 
  • 140 grams of sugar for the eggs
  • 150 grams of sugar to make the caramel
  • 50 cl of milk
  • 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • And you need 6 small bowls and 6 soup plates. 

Step 1 the custard 


  1. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees.
  2. Split the vanilla bean into fires and scrape it to remove the small seeds.
  3. Heat the milk and put the vanilla bean in it
  4. Take your eggs and separate the yolks from the whites.
  5. Put your whites aside, you will use them at the end of the recipe.
  6. Beat the yolks with 140 grams of sugar. The mixture should be white. 
  7. When the mixture is white, add the milk on top, and pour into a saucepan over low heat.
  8. Stir. The cream should start to stick to your spoon when you remove it. Generally, it takes 8 minutes. Your custard is ready.
  9. Set aside to cool, then strain the mixture. 

Une ile flottante / photo par Jerome.Romme/ Une ile flottante / photo par Jerome.Romme/ 


Step 2 the caramel 


  1. Prepare your caramel by cooking 150 grams of sugar in a saucepan, adding 4 tablespoons of water. Be careful. After a while, bubbles will form and you will know that the caramel is ready. 
  2. Pour the caramel into your bowls.

Step 3 Whisk the egg whites

  1. Beat your egg whites until they are stiff, incorporating the vanilla sugar.
  2. Divide your egg whites evenly among the 6 bowls that already have the caramel in them. 
  3. Cook in a bain-marie for 20 minutes in your oven.

Step 4 serve

  1. Set up the 6 soup plates. 
  2. Remove your bowls of egg whites and caramel from the oven.
  3. Turn out the whites into the soup plates. 
  4. Drizzle your custard around them. 
  5. Serve

Beware of the translation. Our translator has just had a very long apero

fancy other french sweet flavors ? for other recipes click here

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme is "monsieur de France" the author of this site. 

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme is "monsieur de France" the author of this site.