Key Lime Floating Island

This very basic liquid custard dessert never fails to make an impressive entrance.

Serves: 8Hands-on: 45 minutesTotal: 3 hoursDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 8


  • 4 egg whites
  • 1⁄2 cup plus 2⁄3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1⁄8 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 Tbsp. key lime juice
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄8 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. grated key lime zest
  • 4 Tbsp. prepared caramel sauce


  • In a chilled glass or metal bowl, combine egg whites, 1⁄2 cup sugar, cream of tartar, and key lime juice. Beat on low speed to blend; beat at high speed until meringue is very stiff. Fill a large Dutch oven with water; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium. When water is simmering, spoon 8 mounds of meringue into water; simmer 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, until meringues are firm. Remove with slotted spoon; set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks, flour, salt, and 2⁄3 cup sugar until well blended. Scald milk in top of double boiler. Ladle a cup of hot milk into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Immediately pour tempered egg mixture into top of double boiler; whisk to blend. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat; beat in vanilla and lime zest.
  • Divided custard sauce into individual serving bowls. Place a meringue on top of sauce, turning once to coat. Chill dessert until ready to serve. Drizzle with caramel sauce.