Food & Drink

Mock Ice Recipe

The National Library of Scotland shares a 19th century fruit and berry recipe.

July’s theme for 2015’s Year of Food and Drink Scotland is the summer berries and fruits for which Scotland is famous. Redcurrants, wild strawberries and raspberries are ripe for picking at this time of year, ideal for creating some July-inspired seasonal recipes in your kitchen.

This historical berry and fruit recipe that was used as a substitute for ice cream back in the 19th century and is shared by kind permission of the National Library of Scotland as part of its new exhibition ‘Lifting the Lid: 400 years of Food & Drink in Scotland’.


In the summer months, children and adults alike cool down with cool treats like frozen lollies and ice cream. Ice cream as we know it today came to Britain in the 18th century. It was made from cream or milk, sweeteners and flavourings, and was frozen in pots in ice houses on country estates. Today, ice cream is no longer a treat for the wealthy, but a mass-produced dessert popular throughout the world.


Although 'mock ice' suggests a frozen treat, this 19th-century recipe was intended as an ice cream substitute. The recipe is actually a rich cream dessert flavoured with strawberries, raspberries and red currant jelly and set in a mould. Before gelatine was widely available, 'isinglass' — made from sturgeon bladders — was used to set desserts.


Take 4 table spoonfuls of strawberries, as much of raspberries & red currant jelly, put all through a search (another word for a sieve) with as much cream as nearly fills the shape you mean to put it into, dissolve ¾ of an ounce (approx. 24 grams) Isinglass in half a gill (approx... 70 millileters) of water. It must stand till nearly cold. Then mix it with the fruit and cream, put all into a shape and let it stand all night in a cold place, turn it out just before dinner.

Read our interview with Olive Geddes, curator of ‘Lifting the Lid: 400 years of food and drink in Scotland’, a new exhibition taking place at the National Library of Scotland (until 8th November) as part of 2015’s Year of Food & Drink Scotland.

July 2015