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To all appearances


Eton Mess, at its simplest, is technically only one step up from strawberries and cream but what makes it somewhere around a million times better is the addition of crumbled meringues. Named after the famed boy's school in England, there are a variety of stories regarding the origin of the recipe but few that dispute its charms. 

It is something that wandered into my consideration a while ago, a recipe I'd made before but had unaccountably fallen by the wayside. 

There it was, back again, distracting me while I was folding laundry. Eton Mess. And then as I was supposed to be paying attention to a movie. Raspberry Eton Mess. And again in the midst writing a grocery list, what leaps onto the page but all the ingredients for Frozen Raspberry Eton Mess. 

Eton Mess, Eton Mess, Eton Mess. It was my Tell-tale Heart, only delectable.


And yes, frozen. The impulse for ice had hit me the the day before, when we turned down a street outside of our normal route, seeking its shade from a particularly-hot afternoon.

It's a street I love, a long avenue - so long that it is difficult to see its end. When you stand at its top you feel that distance stretch in front of you like a current. That length, that space, that breath of air.

Ash trees line the street. Each has a partner directly opposite and they are old enough that their branches meet in the middle and intertwine, like pairs of hands clasped in that song I remember from when I was little. "Here's the church, here's the steeple ..." 

It is perpetually cool and dim there this time of year, to all appearances existing in its own climate. And as you walk under that arched roof of branches, translucent green leaves above that cast a filigree shadow below, creating a grey and black damask upon the pavement. You feel as though you're down the emerald corridor on you way to meet the Wizard in Oz. 

We were halfway down that road when it struck me, I wanted a dessert that tasted as blessedly chilled as that place felt. My Eton Mess would be a frozen one.

i do like a sugar cone

To end my preoccupation, I settled on pureéd raspberries and a generous pile of meringue, stirred into peaks of cream touched with the tart freshness of crème fraîche. Against the toothy sweetness of the meringues, whose soft middles are marshmallow-rich, that crème fraîche helps to keep everything sprightly and springy. 

Although already peppy with fruit and coolly sour, I've included a few spoonfuls of lemon curd. It has a pure acidity that suits the chill of the fridge, and the nip of the freezer even better. Cold, its very lemoness seems to brighten even more if that's possible. It's like an exclamation mark to finish a phrase.

What we ended with was a dessert that had the qualities of pavlova but the citrus-twanged hit of a Creamsicle. 

That said, this is not ice cream, but is iced cream. It will freeze quite solid but wait and it will, all of a sudden, turn soft and yielding, as lush and rich as a semifreddo. We scooped ours, and if you plan to follow suit I would recommend a large shallow dish (rather than the tall one I've pictured) to ensure even freezing and optimal scoopability. Or, for ease, you can freeze individual portions in ramekins to be turned out as molded desserts.

Either way, it's up to you. It suits a spoon but is immensely lickable. But if you opt for the latter, I'll give you one last piece of advice and whisper two words: Sugar Cones. Truly. If you're going to do it, go full on.

I've mentioned Oz, I've invoked Poe, I sang and told you about Eton Mess. My work here is done and my mind is free and clear.

I have a feeling though, it won't be for long, because there are blueberries about and peaches (peaches!) are in season. 

Until next time.


Frozen Raspberry Eton Mess

This recipe from BBC Good Food was my jumping off point for the lemon curd, and I think it is what makes this dessert. I have added a concentrated sugar syrup (basically a pale caramel) to the cream in an attempt to keep it as luscious as possible when frozen.

2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream, divided
Seeds scraped from half a vanilla bean
A pinch of salt
1/3 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1/4 cup raspberry purée, divided, see note
1/4 cup lemon curd, divided, see note
4 ounces meringues

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan stir the sugar into 3 tablespoons of water until it is dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Leave to bubble, without stirring or agitation, until the sugar becomes thick and syrupy and the bubbles begin to slow. This will take around 6 minutes.  

Meanwhile, warm 1/2 cup of the cream on the stove or in the microwave. Do not boil, just warm. 

When the sugar syrup is ready (it may have a hint of colour and that's okay), carefully whisk the warm cream into the sugar. Keep stirring, bring back to a boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, scrape in the vanilla seeds and sprinkle in the salt. Stir again to combine. Set aside to cool.

Once cool, pour the sweetened cream into the remaining heavy cream and refrigerate until cold.

Strain the chilled cream through a fine-meshed sieve into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat the cream into soft peaks. Fold in the crème fraîche.

Roughly crumble in the meringues. Drizzle almost all of the raspberry purée over top and fold for a rippled look. Spoon most of the lemon curd into the dessert, folding one last time until lightly marbled. Pour the dessert into a freezer-safe container. Use the remaining purée and curd to decorate the top.

Freeze until firm (the timing will depend on the specific dimensions of the container used). 

Place the dessert into the refrigerator of 20 minutes, or at room temperature for 10 minutes, before serving. Spoon into bowls or scoop into cones and enjoy. 



  • For the raspberry purée, I make a small batch of this recipe, substituting the strawberries.
  • When making the lemon curd I used one lime (and its zest) in with the lemons; it has a deeper, sharper sourness that I think is especially nice with raspberries. While we're on the subject, passion fruit curd would be heavenly.



Just in case you'd like to know, the latest issue of UPPERCASE Magazine is out! In it you'll find my recipe for Black Raspberry Milkshakes, the testing for which pretty much convinced our eldest that milkshakes should be considered an essential part of his everyday. A look at the shakes is here, and a glimpse between the covers is here.

Reader Comments (52)

3 days later when i said that I want to do it but can't because of too much sugar etc etc, my version of this eton mess is getting ready :D i can't wait to share it with my boyfriend!

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSini

Can I come to your house and eat your ice cream? That looks delish!

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

yowza!! this looks phenom!
must try sooN! thanks for sharing :)

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjennifer

Oh, my word. I'm not even a big ice cream person, but this looks outrageously good!

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterthe teacup chronicles creamy..I love the color combination and what's so tempting about it is the super creamy appearance and I believe it's not just the appearance but also the food itself. I can't wait to have a taste of this raspberry ice cream. I mean it from the bottom of my taste buds, I LOVE IT! It's like a delicious barbecue which I must say is another favorite dish of mine.. woohooo!

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRamen Juice

Now this looks like a very special recipe. Been thinking about you, friend. It's such a pleasure to pop over here and get caught up after far too much time away. xo.

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJess

Hey- I just stumbled upon your website...and I absolutely adore the lil stories and recipes and lovely lovely photos!! Question- was wondering what kind of camera you specifically use to take such wonderfully rich photographs??!

Much appreciated and will be stopping by often :)

July 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKim

For some reason this summer I eat ice cream almost every day :)

And this one looks like the top ice cream!

August 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEfi@greekyogurt

You are brilliant. Eton mess has been calling to me too, lately. But to turn it into ice cream? You are my new hero.

August 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

I like the swirls in the pictures of ice cream. Congratulations on your recipe being featured in a magazine. Pretty neat.

August 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPam @ Kitchen Cookware

i LOVE Eton mess, and now frozen ... Aahhhhh Amazing !!! J'ADORE !

August 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEnila

that looks so so good! what a fantastic idea!

August 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPhoebe

this looks unreal!

August 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFarah

So yummy! I love strawberries, and you are such a talented photographer. Just adds to the delish appeal!

August 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnitashesconnected

Sitting here reading this post on the first day of spring (here in New Zealand that is) with sun shining through the window, I can easily forget about the cold of winter and look foward to a lovely warm summer eating loads of Eton mess :-) I have never tried it frozen. The idea looks and sounds scrumptious.

August 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmm

I made my meringues this morning and my lemon curd this afternoon--am going to put it all together tomorrow evening + into thef reezer for a dinner with friends on Saturday.

I cannot wait to try it-thanks for sharing such a lovely variation~


September 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

I just had to comment to say that this is about the fiftieth time I have dropped by your site specifically to drool over this post. This truly looks incredible!

September 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristyn

Made it for my own birthday yesterday - it was fabulous served in cute little ramekins for guests. Eating the balance directly from pan today with a fork...

September 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRenee

I am so enthralled with the pictures and description of this dessert. I think if I make this I will eat the whole thing myself and not share with anyone. Thanks for posting.

September 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermj

an award for you.

October 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

This dessert is gorgeous! A big congrats to you for getting the Saveur nomination!

April 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarla

I want to snatch that cone right out of your hand! That's mean, but seriously this looks divine!

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley@bakerbynature

This is what dreams are made of.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShaheen [The Purple Foodie]

Thanks for sharing this. A mouth-watering recipe!

January 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVahtikoira

I love this site! beautiful recipe. bye...

March 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaola

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