• Floating islands are a triumph of French cuisine, the perfect mix of crunchy meringue and light cream. Gooseberries are great additions because they’re not overwhelmingly sweet, but still have a distinctive flavour. These little delights are perfect for a dinner party. 

    Floating islands with gooseberry custard

    Serves: 4
    Cooking Time: 45 mins


    • Gooseberry syrup

    • 200g gooseberries
    • 110g castor sugar
    • 250ml (1 cup) water
    • Meringue

    • 3 free-range egg whites
    • a pinch of cream of tartar
    • 110g castor sugar
    • Poaching liquid

    • 500ml (2 cups) milk
    • 250ml (1 cup) water
    • 1 tub good quality custard, to serve



    Mix the gooseberries and castor sugar in a small saucepan. Add the water and bring to a slow simmer. Cook for a few minutes until the gooseberries have started to soften and the sauce is thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and set aside.


    For the meringue, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until thick and glossy. Add the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, whisking continuously. When the mixture has thickened and the sugar has dissolved, the meringue is ready.


    Heat the milk and water until just simmering. Shape the mixture into quenelles by taking 2 dessertspoons and wetting them slightly. Spoon the meringue into one spoon then scoop it over to the other spoon to create quenelles. Dip the spoon with the quenelle into the hot milk mixture, slide it off and poach for 4 minutes, turning once to poach evenly.


    Place a dollop of custard on each serving plate, top with a few meringue quenelles and a drizzle of the gooseberry syrup.