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.