Bianco Mangiare is an eggless milk pudding dessert that is made with all white ingredients; thus the name biancomangiare, literally white food. Made with milk and cream and flavored with vanilla and almond, biancomangiare is very similar to panna cotta. The dessert dates back to the Middle Ages and it is said that the name originally came from the French expression blant manger, which meant mild, simple dishes. Bianco Mangiare is very popular in Sicily although versions of this pudding are made throughout the world. In Ragusa, it is served on orange or lemon leaves and topped with chopped chocolate or with a chocolate sauce. In Syracuse, the pudding is made with almond milk. Bianco Mangiare can be served simply in dessert bowls or formed in one large decorative mold or ramekins that are unmolded onto plates. It can be served with fresh berries, chopped chocolate, nuts, a sweet sauce, or drizzled with a liqueur.
Put the milk and cream in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape the sticky seeds from the center of the bean into the milk mixture. Add the vanilla bean pod and the sugar to the saucepan. Place the saucepan over heat; bring to a simmer. Whisk in the gelatin until completely dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Stir in the almond extract.
Pour the mixture through a strainer into a large measuring cup with a spout. Divide the mixture among six 8-ounce ramekins or 1 large mold. Set the ramekins in the refrigerator to set for 6-8 hours or overnight. Serve plain or sprinkled with chopped chocolate, pistachios, or fruit.
To make the syrup: Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil without stirring. The sugar will dissolve into a syrup. Let the syrup bubble without stirring or shaking the pan for 10-12 minutes. The syrup will start to take on a golden color as it cooks. Near the end of the cooking time you can swirl the pan so that the syrup caramelizes evenly. The syrup should be a uniform copper color when it is done.
Carefully pour the hot syrup evenly among six 8-ounce ramekins. Tilt and swirl each ramekin so the syrup coats the bottom evenly. Set the ramekins aside and make the bianco mangiare recipe above. Pour the mixture over the set caramel syrup in the six ramekins. Set the ramekins in the refrigerator to set for 6-8 hours or overnight.
To unmold: Run the tip of a small knife around the inside edge of each ramekin. Place a dessert plate on top and invert. The pudding should release onto the plate with the syrup running over the top. Serve as is or with slices of fruit or berries.
10-12 ladyfingers (Savoiardi) 1/3 cup Amaretto liqueur or rum Ground cinnamon 1/4 cup chopped chocolate 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios Whipped cream (optional)
Arrange the ladyfingers in the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Cut the ladyfingers into pieces if necessary to over to entire bottom. Brush the ladyfingers with the Amaretto, using the entire amount. Pour the bianco mangiare mixture over the ladyfingers. The ladyfingers will float a little, but that’s fine. Place the dish in the refrigerator to set for 6-8 hours or overnight.
To serve: Liberally coat the top of the pudding with ground cinnamon. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate and pistachios over the top. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired. Cut into squares to serve.
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We are providing you with the basic recipe for Bianco Mangiare and 2 variations: one is a molded pudding with a caramel syrup making the dessert resemble a flan and the other a more elaborate presentation that incorporates ladyfingers into the pudding which creates a type of tiramisu.
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