Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Biancomangiare", the Sicilian white pudding



Do you know how to cook Biancomangiare, the Sicilian white pudding? And why is it called that way? The origin of this delicious dessert is told by the expert journalist and writer from Palermo Gaetano Basile. The recipe dates back to the middle age period and the word "Biancomangiare" (literally white food) comes from the French expression 'bland manger', which meant mild simple dishes, something that patients in hospital or people with stomachache could eat: like rice and chicken.

H
owever, when the recipe was imported here people started to call it blanc manger because of the assonance between bland (simple) and blanc (white) thinking that the name blanc manger was actually referred to the color of the dish. So in Italian the expression in one word became: "Biancomangiare" and started to spread as a sweet pudding done with all white ingredients: milk, cornstarch and sugar... and we still prepare it this way!

Ingredients & Preparation: 1lt milk - 6 tbs cornstarch - 4 tbs sugar - cinnamon (both powder and bark) - grated orange zest - Use pistaches and almonds or orange leaves for garnish

In a saucepan mix the cornstarch with the sugar. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly better if using a whisk to eliminate possible lumps, then add a tea spoon of cinnamon powder and 3 or 4 pieces of crumbled bark. 

Place the saucepan on a medium heat, add the orange zest and keep stirring until the mixture becomes creamy and smooth and starts to boil. 

Then remove from heat and place it in a silicon baking tray or in small individual bowls. Let them chill half an hour (one hour if you pour the pudding into one big tray) and put them in the fridge. 
Once they are cold and firm you can transfer them in plates for dessert and garnish however you like: using chopped pistaches and almonds, just with some more cinnamon and orange zest on top or simply with orange leaves. In any case it will be absolutely yummy. Enjoy!

PS - It's good to know that there are some people who do a richer version of this recipe adding fish-glue or almond flour, but also cookies or sponge at the bottom, but we never did it in my family. Actually what I loe the most about this pudding it's the fact that is light this way and extremely easy to prepare. Hope you like it! ;)

25 comments:

  1. Interesting, I've never heard of fish glue or almond flour!

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  2. And this is why doing this blog is so worth it! ;)

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  3. My mother still makes this pudding and it's such a favorite! She lines her 7 x 11 glass pyrex with vanilla wafers and then fixes her pudding as you described...she pours half of the pudding in the pyrex and tops with cinnamon, shaved chocolate, candied citron and toasted pecans. Then layer the other half of the pudding and top with chocolate and pecans....AMAZING!!

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  4. Thank you so much dear friend for your contribution to this recipe. I am sure your mum's version is also delicious! A big hug :)

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  5. i made that tonight but my mom taught me to put a hard cookie at the bottom of the dish and pour the mixture over it. i use chocalte biscotti its awesome

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  6. Hi there, thanks for your comment. A cookie at the bottom? Sounds good but if I were you I would have put a cinnamon cookie, just to keep that kind of delicate flavor. Anyway I am very glad you enjoyed it! :)

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  7. We used to eat this warm, my grandmother would set our bowls on top of the radiator and sprinkle cinnamon and grated chocolate on them. I've been trying to figure this recipe out forever.

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  8. Does it matter if you use 2 percent milk? 2 percent milk wasn't around when my grandma made it.

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  9. Does whole milk vs 2 % make a difference. And I think my grandma added vanilla extract to it.

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  10. Dear Anonymous, I am really glad you finally found the recipe you were looking for. Of course you can use whole milk, it will be just richer.

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  11. Wonderful blog!!!
    Just made this for a family gathering we're having tonight! Yes, my grandmother used vanilla wafers on the bottom, too. She used to shave cinnamon bark on top and sometimes sprinkle chopped candied fruit over it. Instead of shaving chocolate, she'd sprinkle M&Ms while the pudding was still warm.

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  12. Thank you so much. Excellent version with the M&Ms. I like it! ;)

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  13. I just made it 12 hours ago but i just tilted your version a little of which i used double cream 250ml, 1ltr of milk, 1 tblspn vanilla extract, 1 tspn almond and 1.5tbspn of gelatine. before putting it in individual ramekins, put caramelized sugar and the result is just perfect i have served it with end stripped poached pears in red wine, cinnamon, sugar and cloves. add the remained wine source and some mint leaves if you like.

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  14. Well, I guess you create a new dessert then, great! I hope it was good :) On the other hand though, I love this recipe because of its simplicity.

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  15. I am reading a Serafina Florio mystery... 1880s Sicily. Biancomangiare was mentioned a few times so I finally had to Google it. What a great blog I just found! I have a bachelor's degree in Italian and lived in Florence for several months when I was a junior in college.

    I think this must be divinely delish. I'm going to try the simple, authentic version. No extra flavors, just the milk, cornstarch, sugar and cinnamon.

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  16. Hi JanaStarlite, thank you so much for commenting on my blog and for your compliments. I am quite curious about the mistery you were actually talking about... anyway... I am totally with you on the authentic version. Let me know ;)

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  17. Enjoyed all the comments. My mother and grandmother also made this pudding. They also added a dough, which they rolled into long, half inch round strips, cut into half inch lengths and fried.
    We unfortunately no longer have the dough recipe. Has anyone heard of this?

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  18. Hi there, unfortunately I have never heard of this dough, we usually make it plain and simple. Thanks anyway for your 'testimony' :)

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  19. i love this pudding i had it many times while growing up in sicily for my summer vacations gonna make it this weekend thank you so much for the recipe

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  20. No problem, I am happy to share :)

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  21. My grandama Nina and Aunt Bessie made this for Italian cakes and put in between the layers. We have also used it as a filling for Cannoli's. I have never attempted but I am definatley going to use this recipe for Christmas this year. I believe it exactly how they did it.
    Thank you

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  22. I'm so thrilled i found your site! I thought it was my family secret lol, guess not. I make this way to much but I LOVE IT! We put pound cake at bottom and choc sprinkles on top...always extra cinnamon for me :)

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  23. Hi Rose, thanks a lot for you comment. I hope your Christmas was sweet and exquisite just like this recipe ;)

    Hi Kristine, great you have found my blog! If you want you can also follow me on Facebook to get the updates!

    A big hug

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  24. My mom made it all the time, but she had me stir it while she did other things. She also mixed some sugar with egg yolks, slowly adding, 1 or 2 depending on how much she would make.She also would take an orange peel from the orange, or lemon peel, peeled off lemon and throw that in.She is 86 and was was born in Messina. She of course used all the other ingredients like vanilla cinnamon on the top. Sometimes, she used used lady fingers or vanilla wafers at bottom. She also used this cream for rice pudding in a big glass pan. When she made that she just used a bit more milk. I am so glad to find this recipe cause I thought how am i going to use the organic milk I purchased before Easter and is expiring in 2 days! Thx, Connie (Concetta) PS My brothers and I always had a ball with pan and spoon left overs!

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  25. Hi connie, thank you so much for your comment. I am really happy you found the recipe on my blog, so now you can pass it to your children as well together with the whole story. A big hug

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