The Musette: frozen Eton mess

I like to keep a few desserts in my freezer which I can bring out when required, particularly when friends call round at the last moment. This has got to be one of the world’s easiest but most delicious desserts and, better still, is a no-churn affair. You mix everything together, fold it into a loaf tin, freeze and, voilĂ  you’re done until you whip it out to impress. Being dairy, I can’t eat it but everyone assures me it’s divine and it’s so easy to customise.

Ingredients (serves 6 hungry cyclists)

For the ice cream cake

  • 300ml (1 1/4 cups) double (heavy) cream
  • 1 tbsp finely grated organic orange zest
  • 1 tbsp orange flavoured liqueur, I used Cointreau
  • 100g (4oz) good quality, shop-bought meringue nests

For the strawberry sauce

  • 10-15 ripest strawberries from the punnet
  • 1 tbsp finely grated organic orange zest
  • 2 tbsp orange flavoured liqueur, I used Cointreau

To serve

500g (1lb) fresh strawberries, hulled and macerated in another  – why not? – tbsp Cointreau

Method

1. Line a 450g (1lb) loaf tin with clingfilm, making sure you have enough overhang to cover the top later.

2. Whip the cream until thick but still soft. Gently fold the liqueur and orange zest into the cream.

3. Crumble the meringue nests – you want a mix of sand and rubble – and fold these in, too.

4. Pack this mixture into the prepared loaf tin, pressing it down with a spatula as you go, and bring the clingfilm up and over to seal the top, then get out more clingfilm to wrap around the whole tin. Freeze until solid, which should take around 8 hours, or overnight. It’ll happily sit in the freezer for a month.

5. To serve, unwrap the outer layer of plastic wrap, then unpeel the top and use these bits of long overhanging wrap to lift out the ice-cream brick. Unwrap and unmould it onto a board and cut the frozen meringue cake into slabs to serve.

6. Just whiz up the sauce ingredients in your liquidiser or food processor.

7. I like to zig-zag a little strawberry sauce over each slice, and sprinkle the strawberries alongside on each plate.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. Swap out the orange zest for lemon, the strawberries for raspberries and the Cointreau for Limoncello and you’ve a completely different dessert. Don’t forget to sieve the raspberry sauce to eliminate the pips and you may also need 1-2 tsp sugar to sweeten it.

2. Exchange the orange zest for 30g (1oz) dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped into splinters and the Cointreau for coffee liqueur or dark rum and serve with a chocolate sauce made from:-

  • 250ml (1 cup) double (heavy)cream
  • 125g (4 oz) dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coffee liqueur or dark rum

Heat the cream and chocolate over a gently heat, whisking as the chocolate melts, taking the pan off the heat once the chocolate is almost all melted. If the mixture gets too hot, the chocolate will seize, whereas it will happily continue melting in the warm cream off the heat. Add the liqueur, still off the heat, and whisk again to amalgamate the sauce completely. Pour into a jug, whisking every now and again until it cools to just subtly warm.

3. If chocolatesauce isn’t your thing, serve with a good quality caramel one!