Need some culinary inspiration?
You can’t get simpler than this dessert. This is a milky dessert quite often made with almond milk sugar and set with corn flour. It is a little more extravagant infused with orange and cinnamon and a fool proof addition of gelatin will ensure that you have the perfect consistency. You will find this on many dessert menus and also in many of the pasticceria in Sicily. No fancy technique, no expensive ingredients just a memory of childhood when you taste the first mouthful. My mum was always making blancmange for us as a quick dessert and as I child I loved it. Even now I still order it in restaurants just to relive the sensation.
Commonly known as Biancomangiare in Sicily. It is a sort of and Italian Pudding with Orange Sponge and Toasted Cinnamon Almonds. A delicious dessert so popular in Sicilian pasticcerias. Dating back to the Middle Ages and also of Arab decent, biancomangiare, meaning ‘white dish’, is a simple cooked dessert, of milk infused with spices and thickened with either corn starch or flour to form a thick custard. Originally it was thickend with rice and origins were of a savoury dish of a milky spiced chicken casserole.
The dish eventually evolved into a dessert thickend with eggs and cream during the 17th century and became a lighter style of dessert with the use of almond milk, sugar and cornflour. Then once chilled it becomes a kind of pudding not unlike its more well known Italian cousin the panna cotta, which is more sublime in texture due to the addition of thickened cream. The Pudding or Biancomangiare is usually topped with cinnamon or ground nuts, this can certainly be substituted with flavourings of vanilla like the recipe below and garnish of grated chocolate or ground pistachios.
The pudding can be simply served in a bowl or moulded into decorative shapes either for individual servings or larger moulds for more of a statement piece at the end of a meal.
2. Pour the gelatin mix back into the pot and whisk well until the gelatin has completely dissolved.
3. Pour in the Orzata almond milk and stir to combine. Half fill lightly oiled ramekins and allow to cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Slice the sponge into rounds and brush with the marmalade, place these into the molds and then fill with the remainder of the almond milk mixture. Refrigerate for a further 2 hours or until set.
5. Mix the marmalade and water together and toss with the raspberries, spoon these over the unmolded Biancomangiare and serve topped with some of the almonds.
6. Preheat your oven to 130c.
7. For the almonds, whisk the egg white and the vanilla together until foamy. Pour the egg whites onto the almonds and stir to cover. Combine the sugars and cinnamon in a separate bowl and then pour this over the almonds and coat well. Pour the almonds in one layer onto a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 1 hour turning them twice after 20 minute intervals. Allow them to cool before storing them. These will keep for weeks in an air tight container.
Almond Milk mixed with
· Orzata, a type of almond milk cordial
· cow’s milk or
· Adjust the milk quantities to suit your dietary requirements.
· agar agar (for vegans)