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French Cooking at Home - Île Flottante

French Cooking at Home - Île Flottante

Do you want to bring a little bit of French cuisine into your home? Be sure to try out this simple and delicious recipe and make an île flottante!

French Cooking at Home - Île Flottante

This French dessert is made with sweet egg whites beaten to resemble snow, floating in an English creme (custard) and coated in caramel.

L’île flottante, although directly translated means "floating island,"  is often called “eggs in snow” because the eggs are beaten in a manner like mousse that resembles snow. The premise of the recipe seems to have appeared officially in the 17th century. The expression “oeufs à la neige” appeared for the first time in the dictionary of the French Academy in the 18th century. But, l’île flottante was another dish at the start: Auguste Escoffier, one of the founders of French gastronomy, called “île flottante” a dessert made from slices of biscuits from Savoie (a French department) with kirsch and maraschino (cherry brandy and liquor) with apricot jam, grapes, almonds, pistachios and whipped cream. Today, l’île flottante  is now a simpler and lighter recipe. It’s a very common dessert in French restaurants.

The following recipe serves 1 île flottante.


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of milk 
  • 1 vanilla pod 
  • 8 tablespoons of sugar (100g) 
  • 15 sugar cubes (60g) for the caramel
  • Half of a lemon
  • 1 pinch of salt


Total time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 30 min

Preparation time: 30 min

Attention : the eggs and the cream are made separately, add the whites and the caramel at the last minute! 

Les oeufs en neige

  • Break the eggs and separate the yolks from the egg whites.
  • Add the sugar and the salt to the egg whites.
  • Beat the egg whites using a whisk (it is faster if you use an electric mixer!).

La crème anglaise (custard)

  • In a saucepan, heat the milk without letting it boil.
  • Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape it out, adding it to the milk.
  • Remove the vanilla after 5 minutes.
  • Beat the yolks and the sugar with a manual whisk.
  • Mix the yolks and sugar with the hot milk.
  • Heat the mixture over low heat so that it thickens, stirring regularly.
  • The custard is ready when the white foam at the surface disappears.
  • Wait for it to cool and put it in the refrigerator.

Pocher les oeufs 

There are multiple options.

In the milk : 

  • Put the egg whites in the hot milk and leave for 30 seconds on each side. 

In boiling water : 

  • Boil 8 cups of water.
  • Form egg white balls with two tablespoons and let them cook for 30 seconds on each side in boiling water.

Microwave Option : 

  • Put the egg whites in the microwave over a very low heat for a very short time, about 30 seconds.
  • The egg whites should be firm enough that they can be picked up with a spoon. If not, put them back in for about 20 seconds one or two times.
  • Set the egg whites aside.

Le caramel

Attention : To do at the last minute! 

  • Heat the sugar cubes in a saucepan with the juice from the lemon and two tablespoons of water until you get a smooth caramel.

L’île flottante

  • Put the egg whites on the cream and add caramel.
  • Add your toppings.
  • Taste!

Ideas of toppings and flavors : almonds, pralines, maple syrup. 

 French touch: 
 For a French touch, try adding orange blossom  water to the cream.

 American touch: 
For an American touch, you can try: candied almonds, pecans, peanuts, etc.; chocolate chips; maraschino cherries

À vos fourneaux ! 


-L’île flottante : Although it is a French dessert, it also directly translates to "floating island."

-Les oeufs en neige : This translates to "eggs made of snow," but is used often to describe the look of the beaten egg whites.

-Auguste Escoffier : A very famous and notable French chef!

-Savoie : A department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of Southeastern France.

-Crème anglaise : It directly translates to "English cream," and is a lighter, pourable custard.

-Le caramel : Caramel

-Pocher les oeufs  : to poach eggs