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Nitro Coconut Floating Island with Passion Fruit and Vanilla by Pastry Chef Michael Gillet

Uni Foam Technique

Technique: Liquid Nitrogen Floating Island
Pastry Chef Michael Gillet of The Bazaar by José Andrés – Los Angeles, CA
September 2009

Recently we’ve seen that modern tableside service can appear in just about any form, from maitre’d’s cracking open steaming salt-encased beets to whisking together a la minute ice creams. Now we add another tableside trick to the list.

At José Andrés’ swank, Starck-designed The Bazaar in Beverly Hills, Pastry Chef Michael Gillet offers a dramatic, fun, tableside take on the floating island, the classical French dessert, which traditionally features a base of crème Anglaise topped with one or several chunks of meringue.

Gillet’s “island” is a new school meringue made sans egg whites in the iSi food whipper using coconut puree and cream. Dispensed into a ladle and dipped in liquid nitrogen before the diners, it freezes within seconds into a smooth sphere, ready to be shattered over a “sea” of agar-gelatin thickened passion fruit puree.

Base preparation for Michael Gillete's the floating island
2. Prepare a dour of liquid nitrogen
2. Prepare a dour of liquid nitrogen.
4. Move the ladle around to give an even freeze
5. Remove the ball from the ladle
6. Place the ball on the base of the dish
7. Douse with more liquid nitrogen
Crack the meringue open
9. Nitro Coconut Floating Island
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  Photos by Antoinette Bruno

Step 1: Combine the flavor agent with a fat in a food whipper. Refrigerate.
Step 2: Dispense the foam in a ball shape into the bowl of the ladle.
Step 3: Dip the ladle in the liquid nitrogen, moving it around to freeze the ball consistently.
Step 4: Remove the ball from the ladle and place in the center of the plate.

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Nitro Coconut Floating Island with Passion Fruit and Vanilla
Pastry Chef Michael Gillet of The Bazaar by José Andrés – Los Angeles, CA
Adapted by
November 2009
yield: 6 Servings


Vanilla Syrup:
½ liter simple syrup
3 vanilla beans

Caramelized Coconut Flakes:
200 milliliters simple syrup
50 grams coconut flakes

Coconut Foam:
200 grams coconut puree
70 grams cream

Passion Fruit Cream:
125 grams simple syrup
125 grams water
3.1 grams agar agar
1½ sheets gelatin
250 grams passion fruit puree

To Assemble and Serve:
Tamarind paste
1 passion fruit
1 bunch fresh mint
Liquid nitrogen 


For the Vanilla Syrup:
Heat the syrup to 80ºC and add the vanilla; let the mixture infuse for 24 hours and then strain and transfer to a squeeze bottle.  

For the Caramelized Coconut Flakes:
Temper the syrup in the microwave, and add the coconut flakes. Reserve at room temperature until the flakes are hydrated. Strain the flakes from the syrup  and spread them on a tray; dry in a dehydrator until crispy.

For the Coconut Foam:
Combine the coconut puree and the cream. Transfer to a food whipper and charge with 2 chargers. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  

For the Passion Fruit Cream:
Combine the syrup, water, and the agar agar. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the gelatin and the passion fruit puree. Transfer the mixture to a tall container and blend using a hand blender. Strain and transfer to a squeeze bottle.

To Assemble and Serve:
Spoon a circle of passion fruit cream on the plate. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the vanilla syrup around the passion fruit cream. Arrange 3 dots of tamarind paste, 6 passion fruit seeds, and 3 mint leaves around the edge of the cream. Dispense the coconut foam from the food whipper into a ladle. Dip the ladle into the liquid nitrogen. Rotate the ladle to loosen the ball, giving it a rounder shape. Place the ball in the center of the passion fruit cream. Garnish with the coconut flakes.

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  Published: November 2009