What Is Biancomangiare?
Biancomangiare is a spoon dessert, white in color, with a texture so soft that it melts in your mouth. You can eat it for breakfast, as a snack accompanied by biscuits, and after dinner as a dessert. It is often prepared at home, given the ease of the procedure and the goodness of the result.
There are many variations in Sicily: some recipes include soaked almonds, others almond milk, and others cow or sheep milk. There are those who enrich it with lemon zest, some with pistachio grains, and some with jasmine or cinnamon flowers.
The origins of Biancomangiare
The name “Biancomangiare” has indicated since the Middle Ages a dish characterized by the presence of white ingredients, considered a symbol of purity. It was intended for the rich and could be found both sweet and salty. Milk, lard, chicken breast, almonds, rice, sugar, etc. were used to prepare it — all strictly white ingredients. It is believed to have originated in France: many texts report the name blanc manger, but its diffusion in Italy took place around the 11th century.
Over time, this dish has turned into a widely recognized dessert, which is now part of the traditional agri-food products (PAT) of three Italian regions (Sicily, Sardinia, and Valle d’Aosta).
Biancomangiare (Almond Milk White Pudding)
- 1 liter almond milk
- 300 grams sugar
- 150 grams cornstarch
- 1 whole vanilla bean pod
- pistachio crumbs
- In a small pot, sift the sugar and the cornstarch together.
- Cut open the vanilla bean pod and remove the seeds.
- Add the vanilla seeds to the sugar and cornstarch.
- Add the almond milk and mix very well, making sure not to create clumps.
- Place the pot on the stove over low heat, mixing with a whisk until it boils.
- Remove it from the heat, mix quickly, and then pour the mixture into six small molds previously dampened by cold water.
- Place in the fridge for 5 hours.
- Flip each mold onto a dessert plate and decorate with pistachio crumbs or a pinch of cinnamon.
The combined delicateness of milk and the slight aroma of almonds means that biancomangiare matches perfectly with some of the best Sicilian dessert wines. Once harvested, the grapes for these wines are left to rest for a few weeks on special racks in order to concentrate the sugars. The most famous is Passito of Pantelleria, a wine with aromas of candied fruit, fig jam, and apricot.
Other Sicilian desserts: