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Gluten Free Floating Island Pudding

Dec 30, 2015 11:38AM ● By Cate Reynolds
By Alison Rose Munn

Trying to decide which delicious holiday recipe to write about, I poured through old favorites and new ones I have yet to try. They all made may mouth water. But nothing inspired me as the special recipe to write about for this special time of the year. Then it hit me: Floating Island Pudding. A creamy pudding topped with “islands” of meringue. It’s a dish that many folks I know have never heard of but to me the holidays are not complete until it has been dished out for desert. My grandma made it for us every year, just as had been made by generations before her. My grandma has left us but the family tradition has continued and the creamy dish is still served every Christmas. It is perfect for any holiday event, and with New Year's Eve this week, you should definitely put this recipe on your list of things to make.

I realized I had never made it myself so I decided it was time. I’m not ready to share the family recipe so I looked over a few other interpretations until I stumbled upon Julia Child’s. Reading her recipes is always a delight as no one today writes like her. She is very personable with her reader and very proper, very polite. I invited a friend over to experiment with me and after a few mishaps of making scrambled eggs instead of making a pudding and burning the custard we soon got the dish right and were rewarded by a delicious treat. Despite our mishaps, the recipe truly is easy to make, it simply requires more attention while cooking than we gave as we got lost in chatter – oops!

Below is the recipe rewritten in my own words and with a few adaptations (though I know some will say that Julia Child should never be rewritten or adapted).



  • 1 Tbsp. softened butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 2/3 cups egg whites (apx12)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt


  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups hot milk
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter (optional)
  • 2 tbsp rum or another liqueur (optional)


  • Carmel sauce
  • Fresh berries



Note - This can be made on the stovetop but I’ve found it’s easier to simply put it in the oven as Julia suggests.

  1. Butter a baking dish 3″ deep and dust with powdered sugar. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Beat egg whites at moderate speed until foamed, beat in salt and tarter, gradually increase speed until soft peaks form.
  3. Beat in the sugar by spoonfuls. Continue until stiff peaks are formed. Add vanilla.
  4. Pour in prepared dish, bake 35-40 minutes on the lower middle rack. It is done when a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Let cool.


  1. Whisk egg yolks in a saucepan, add sugar by spoonfuls. Beat 2-3 minutes, mixture will be thick and pale yellow.
  2. Dribbling, stir in the milk.
  3. Heat on moderate low, stirring slowly. The sauce will come close to a simmer. When surface bubbles begin to smooth, test the sauce. If it is thick enough to coat your finger it is ready.
  4. Beat in vanilla, salt, and optional ingredients.
  5. Serve warm or cold.


Scoop chucks of the meringue over the pudding, drizzle with caramel sauce and fresh berries.