Cornish Kea Plum Mess Recipe

This Cornish Mess recipe is a take on the classic Eton Mess; meringue, whipped cream and fresh strawberries all squished together in a scrumptious dessert. The Cornish version calls not just on Cornish fruits but more precisely, the famous clotted cream of the county.

British and Irish food expert Elaine Lemm is a trained chef and prominent food writer. She has established her own international cookery school and also opened her own restaurant in 1999. Here, she gives us her recipe for a delicious but simple dessert that uses local Cornish produce - perfect for a Cornish family BBQ.

How to make a Cornish Kea plum mess


Any soft summer fruit makes a wonderful “Mess” but if you are lucky enough to be in Cornwall in the summer, the native Kea Plum is perfect. Kea plums come from the Fal Valley and are only from this area. If you can’t find Kea plums, any ripe, juicy plums will work well.

Should you choose other summer fruits, use only the soft berry ones. Unlike plums, berries do not need cooking, simply lightly squash and follow the recipe.

Serves 4


  • 120ml water
  • 120ml granulated sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 250 ml white wine
  • 300g Kea plums, halved and stone removed
  • 225g Cornish clotted cream
  • 4 meringue shells


  1. Put the water, sugar, star anise and white wine into a saucepan. Heat to a gentle boil and stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Once dissolved, add the plum halves and cook gently until the plums are tender and just starting to fall.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the plums from the syrup and leave to cool. Put the syrup back onto a high heat and boil until reduced by half. Pop the syrup to one side to cool.
  4. Put the clotted cream into a small bowl and whip with a wire whisk until the cream thickens; be careful to not over whip, the cream should be in firm peaks but not turning to butter.
  5. Once the plums are completely cooled, drain again and put the softened plums into the whipped clotted cream and stir ever so gently to incorporate the plums. Do not over mix, the fruit is lovely in clumps.
  6. Place a meringue shell onto a plate. Fill with the clotted cream/fruit mix, piling it high. Drizzle with a little of the reduced syrup and enjoy.

Looking for somewhere to get your ingredients from? Check out our 5 favourite local Cornish producers and discover where you can buy some quality local produce. 

If you love the Cornish Kea Plum mess recipe, visit Cornwall and get the full Cornish experience. Book your stay in our Cornish holiday cottages, where you are that one step closer to the delicious Cornish food. 

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