Merengon de guindones (Peruvian floating Island)


When I was a kid, this dessert was pretty popular in Peru & my mom would make it often. Nowadays you really have to search for it, if you want to buy it. I actually only know one café in Lima where they always have it on the menu. When we are visiting, that place is always on our list as my husband also goes nuts for this dessert. It’s basically the same as an Île Flottante but made with gelatin & dried prunes, placed in a cake mold coated in caramel and baked in a water bath. It’s called merengon de guindones which means prune meringue. I made a tiny version for 2, using only 4 egg whites and served it with some vanilla bean crème anglaise. Since I’m not the biggest fan of dried prunes, I skipped them. If you would like to use the prunes, just grab a handful and soak them in hot water for a few minutes. Then chop them and add them to the meringue last.

This recipe is enough for a 19cm angel cake pan but you can easily make a larger cake.

For the caramel:

1 ½ cups of sugar

For the cake:

4 egg whites

½ cup of sugar

1 ½ gelatin leaves (total weight of 1.5grs)

¼ cup of cold water

For the crème anglaise:

3 egg yolks

¾ cups of sugar

1 cup of milk

1 teaspoon of cornstarch

1 vanilla bean


Preheat your oven to 180/350F

Melt the sugar for the caramel in a pan over medium heat and coat the cake pan with it.

Place the gelatin in a plate with the cold water and let it sit for a few minutes until it softens.

Place the gelatin with the water in a small pan over medium heat and stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved.

Whisk the egg whites until foamy, and then gradually add the sugar. Once you can form firm peaks, slowly add the gelatin while whisking. Pour the meringue into the caramel coated pan. Bake it in a water bath for 20 minutes. Allow it to cool down completely in the mold (it will shrink). Once it is cold, detach the edges using a knife heated with hot water. Unmold it into a cake platter. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.

To make the crème anglaise, place the milk, sugar and vanilla (seeds scraped off and bean) in a saucepan. Bring it to a simmer and then remove it from the heat. In medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the cornstarch. Slowly add the milk while whisking.

Pour the custard back into the pot and stir over low heat with a wooden spoon until it thickens. You know when it’s ready when you can draw a line with your finger on the back of the spoon and it leaves a path. Strain the custard and pour it into a bowl. Grab a piece of plastic wrap and cover it, touching the custard. This will prevent that layer of skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve the merengon with the crème anglaise. Enjoy!

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