The Happy Home Cook: Canonigo (Floating Meringue)

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The caramel-coated canonigo, with its towering meringue, is beautiful and almost weightless when cut. Richly flavored by caramel and mustard sauce, it is the Spanish equivalent of the French Ile Flottante (“floating island”), a mound of light meringue floating in a vanilla custard sea.
Canonigo (Source: Kulinarya: A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine, Expanded Second Edition (Anvil Publishing Inc., 2013))

Canonigo (Source: Kulinarya: A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine, Expanded Second Edition (Anvil Publishing Inc., 2013))

Makes 10 three-inch individual servings


1 cup (200 g) white sugar
½ cup (120 ml) hot water


8 egg whites
½ cup (100 g) white sugar

Custard sauce

8 egg yolks
½ cup (100 g) white sugar
1 cup (240 ml) evaporated milk
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla


1.     Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F)
2.     Melt 1 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Bring the sugar to a boil and stop stirring. Reduce heat to medium and gently lift the handle of the saucepan and swirl the mixture until uniformly golden brown and caramelized like syrup.
3.     Add the hot water to the caramelized sugar and mix with a wooden spoon.
4.    Pour 1 tablespoon syrup into each of the ten 3-in stainless steel molds. Roll the syrup until the entire inner surface is coated. Use kitchen mitts as the molds will become hot. Set aside.
5.     Make the meringue: In a bowl, heath the egg whites until soft peaks form.
6.    Add the ½ cup sugar gradually, beating continuously until stiff but not dry. Be careful not to overbeat.
7.     Divide the meringue among the molds. Fill up to the top, and flatten with a spatula.
8.    Place the filled molds into a roasting pan large enough to allow an inch or two of space around the edge.
9.     Pour an inch of water into the roasting pan to make a bain marie or water bath.


1.     In the preheated oven, bake the meringue for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven.
2.    Cool the meringue for 15 to 20 minutes in the bain marie, or they will collapse.
3.    Invert the molds onto serving plates.

Custard sauce

1.     In a bowl, beat the egg yolks slightly.
2.     In a double boiler, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and evaporated milk and stir with a wooden spoon until thick. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, and allow to cool.

Serving suggestion

 Serve the meringues with warm custard sauce spooned over or on the side in a separate sauce bowl. Add scooped balls of fresh mango.


Lightly tap the molds with the uncooked meringue on the table before baking to remove any air.

You can also use this recipe with a 12-inch stainless steel bowl. If the caramel sticks and hardens in the bowl after the meringues have been baked and removed, add some water to the bowl, and boil until it becomes syrupy. Cool slightly and drizzle over canonigo. 

From Kulinarya: A Guidebook to Philippine Cuisine, Expanded Second Edition (Anvil Publishing Inc., 2013)