This 4-Ingredient Frozen Mousse Is the Bees’ Knees

April 27, 2018

A couple weeks ago, we chatted with Tamar Adler about everything from butter vs. olive oil to her favorite way to cook lamb—all celebrating her just-released book Something Old, Something New. There, she digs up, dusts off, and shines up classic recipes, reviving them for modern day. To sticky-note which recipes you want to make right now is, well, to sticky-note most of the recipes. But we had to pick—and this one was a shoo-in. Just look at it:

Photo by James Ransom

If we’re being very candid, I was never really a mousse fan—too fluffy? Is that a thing?—but frozen and honey grabbed my attention, pulled me closer, gave me a hug. Adler adapted the recipe from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts, first published in 1974. As she writes in Something Old, Something New: “It comes from a roadside beekeeper, and produces a light buttercup-yellow edifice of frozen cream that brings to mind fairy tales and enchanted forests. I can’t image a more fantastical confection.”

Neither can we. Though mousse can seem intimidating, this recipe is straightforward and achievable, the sort of thing you can conquer the first time and feel very proud about afterward. Basically, you cook egg yolks and honey in a double boiler. Separately whip cream. Separately beat egg whites. Then fold everyone together. Smooth the mousse into dishes or glasses and freeze. And that’s it!

That’s it? Should anything go on top? we wondered. Adler says it’s unnecessary, though “if you need something else,” she wrote me, “a toasted nut crumble or some simple oat granola.” This sounds like just the way to turn frozen honey mousse into breakfast. And why wouldn’t you? We opted for another drizzle of honey (you can never have too much honey) and some fresh blackberries because spring is here and we’re here for spring.

Can you substitute the honey for something else? Say, maple syrup or sorghum or even molasses? Maybe! “Maple would be amazing, but you’d have to bring the quantity down,” Adler said. “Sorghum or molasses seem too intense and earthy for such an ethereal recipe.”

Whatever substitutions or toppings you have in mind, do try the recipe just as written first. It’s as dreamy as it gets.

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Have you ever made mousse before? What kind? Let us know in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • J.B.
  • Stellastanway
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


J.B. April 9, 2019
I’m guessing the consistency is similar to a Lemon Posset (see several posset recipes in Food52’s archives). Don’t envision it to have an ice cream consistency. Egg whites and cream should make it quite airy. Give it a whirl, then report back to us!
Stellastanway April 9, 2019
It’s served frozen? So how hoard is the consistency? Like ice cream? I was thinking of serving in chocolate cups, but if frozen might be too hard to eat.
Emma L. April 9, 2019
Serving it in chocolate cups sounds wonderful! I'd pour the mousse into the cups, then freeze those.
Stellastanway April 9, 2019
Yes, of course, but will it still be easy to eat that way?
Emma L. April 9, 2019
I'm hopeful it would work—but since I haven't tried this in chocolate cups (or, sadly, any frozen dessert in chocolate cups!), I can't say for certain. If you give it a try, please let me know what you think. And if you're concerned about the cups, you could also crumble chocolate on top?
J.B. May 3, 2018
Simple and complex mousse was made in culinary school. The technique of folding was heavily stressed.