How to make a Bake Off inspired floating island dessert

food, how to, how to make a bake off inspired floating island dessert

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Looking for a new dessert recipe to try?

The Great British Bake Off has given us some inspiration in the form of floating island pudding, which involves a poached meringue.

This week contestants had to make one from scratch – and it’s got viewers stomach’s grumbling.

Never heard of the dessert? It’s essentially soft meringue in a sea of custard, hence the name floating island.

Here’s how to make it.



  • 4 egg whites, large
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 260g of caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 320ml of whole milk


  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 70g of caster sugar


Taken from The Book of St John by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver, this is their classic recipe.

  1. Using an electric whisk on a high setting, whisk egg whites with vinegar and vanilla extract until they form soft peaks.
  2. Lower the speed and continue whisking, slowly adding the sugar. It will become glossy and stiff.
  3. Add the cornflour, folding it through with a spoon.
  4. Gently simmer milk in a large saucepan and spoon heaps of meringue in. You can decide on the size, but this recipe recommends having three small ‘islands’ for each portion.
  5. Poach the meringue for 2 minutes, then gently flip them over and poach for another 2 minutes.
  6. Once removed, aside them to cool and refrigerate.
  7. Add vanilla seeds and the pod into the milk at a medium-level simmer.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together – the mixture should go pale.
  9. Add hot milk to the yolks bowl slowly, whisking continuously.
  10. Pour the mixture back to the pan and place over a medium heat.
  11. Keep stirring the custard, ensuring it doesn’t get too hot, as this will curdle it.
  12. Once ready, it can also be refrigerated until its time to eat.
  13. Pour the custard into bowls and place three poached meringues on top.

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