Floating Island Pudding

I have heard of the dessert “Floating Island” many times and seen it in cookbooks, but had never made it or tasted it. I came across this version in the “Bagg Bonanza Farm”cookbook. The Bagg farm was one of the ND Bonanza farms that operated from the late 1800’s until 1950. This recipe is listed as Mrs. Bagg’s favorite. She was a Norwegian immigrant, and she started cooking at the farm as a teenager in the late 1800’s. I believe her recipe is slightly different than the classic “Floating Island” in that the “islands’ are not just meringues, but include the egg yolks also.
The sauce is actually “Creme Anglaise”, and it is absolutely delicious even though I overcooked mine and it was lumpy. It  is pretty amazing what people managed to do with eggs, milk and sugar. This dessert is along the lines of a custard or creme brulee, but lighter – like a little cloud with a rich sauce. While it is good, I can see why it didn’t remain popular. Personally, I would prefer a custard to this for a similar treat.   This was a little like cold, slightly sweet, scrambled eggs. If one wanted a very simple light dessert, this would fill the bill.

Time and Effort: This recipe took me about 30 minutes to make. You could also make the “islands” in the morning, and make the sauce later in the day if you wanted to shorten up the prep time before serving. It was also very easy to prepare, but the sauce will curdle if overheated. You have to stir constantly and remove from heat immediately when it starts to coat the spoon.

History: Floating Island is a classic French dessert. This version is a from a cook on a ND Bonanza farm. It is similar to the original, but doesn’t involve poaching meringues.

Worth Adding to your Dessert Repertoire: Meh

Recipe:  Floating Island Pudding

(Sophia Larson Bagg’s recipe from the Bagg Bonanza Farm History and  Cookbook)


1 Cup milk (heated)

1 Tbls. Cornstarch (dissolved in cold water)

1 ½ Tbls. Sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

3 eggs separated



1 cup milk (heated)

3 egg yoks beatern

3 Tbls. Sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Stir cornstarch mixture into milk, sugar, salt and egg yolks, heat.  When thick, take off heat and work in beaten egg whites.

Have chilled custard cups ready (6).   Pour the pudding mixture into 6 chilled custard cups.  Refrigerate.


To prepare sauce:  Add sugar to egg yolks and stir into milk when boiling hot.  Stir constantly over low heat until sauce coats spoon.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and chill.  When ready to serve, invert the puddings onto small plates and pour sauce over.


7 Responses

  1. Margo

    Fun reading Cara. . But if you are going to make anything from Angelica’s 1920’s cookbook you will have to invest in a fire-less cooker and buy some pimentos. Both are staples of her heritage recipes.

      1. Margo

        Crockpot still has to be plugged into electricity– fireless cooker did not. Actually a great idea for picnic food.

    1. sugarpies

      Thanks Karla! I’m hoping to get a hold of Grammie’s famous cookbook that she received as a wedding gift.

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