madártej, floating island, dessert

Hungarian gastronomy has a lot of things to offer. Some recipes are more difficult to make, requiring hours of care and attention, while others you can whip up in just a few minutes. This week’s recipe belongs to the latter category. It is quick and easy to make, but that does not affect the quality – the result will not disappoint.

The term ‘madártej’ first surfaced around the middle of the 18th century. At first, it referred to an imaginary dish – literally, it means ‘the milk of birds’. They used it for something amazing but unattainable, until the 1830s, when the milk- and egg-based dessert took over the meaning. Interestingly, Austrians call this dessert ‘canary milk’, the Germans call it ‘snow milk’ while both the French and the English call it ‘floating island’.

floating island, dessert, madartej


1 l milk

6 eggs

150 g sugar

1 stick of vanilla / a packet of vanilla sugar

a pinch of salt


Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites with a little bit of sugar. Mix the egg yolks, the rest of the sugar, the vanilla and the pinch of salt well together. Slowly heat the milk and add lumps of the beaten egg whites. Make sure to turn them over so that both sides can get done. Once they are cooked, remove them from the milk and let them cool. There are alternative ways of preparing the egg whites; you can use hot water or a microwave, too.

Next, add the egg yolk mixture to the milk while constantly stirring so that it stays smooth, and leave it on the stove until it reaches a relative thickness. Let it all cool, then put the egg white lumps on top. You can serve it with various toppings or just on its own – it will be delicious either way.

madártej, floating island, dessert

Tips and tricks to help you

  1. Make sure the dessert does not start boiling as that can have catastrophic consequences for both the vanilla cream and the egg white pieces.
  2. To have the egg white pieces at the perfect state of hardness, cook them in water – about 20 seconds on each side should be enough – or put them in the microwave – just 30-40 seconds on 600W will be enough.
  3. To add a bit of extra flair to the dessert, you can trickle caramel sauce on top, add some orange zest or lemon juice, sprinkle it with chocolate chips or roasted almonds or even add some eggnog or rum-soaked raisins.

Enjoy! 😉

For more recipes, check out last week’s edition of egg barley soup, or the punch cake recipe before that.

Featured image:

Source: Daily News Hungary

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