Biancomangiare – Sicilian almond milk pudding is a traditional dessert made with almond milk (or cow’s milk) and thickened with cornstarch. It’s flavored with cinnamon and lemon peel and topped with chopped pistachios to make a refreshingly light treat. And it takes only 10 minutes to prepare!I recently made a few interesting discoveries. First, I learned that the dish I have familiarly called crema all my life is known as biancomangiare.
I reminded my mom about this word which she says she has not heard in years! Crema, meaning cream, is what we have always called my mom’s cornstarch thickened pudding like dessert which she layers with cookies and is also known as biancomangiare con biscotti.
But it was traditionally made plain white, without any coloring added and served as is, without the cookies. Although my mother makes her biancomangiare with cow’s milk, as they did in Sicily, I also learned that this recipe works well made with almond milk. And this suits me just fine as I have, unfortunately, discovered that I am in fact milk intolerant.
So this is the perfect dessert for me and many many others as well, I’m sure! And best of all, it takes minutes to prepare and makes for a light and refreshing dessert.
What is biancomangiare?
Biancomangiare is a typical Sicilian dessert of Arabic origins which means white food and is derived from the French term blanc manger. It is a cooked dessert traditionally made with milk and thickened with cornstarch giving it a pudding like texture. The all white food symbolizes purity.
Of course, you’ll notice in my photos that when made with almond milk, this version of biancomangiare is more beige than white.
How is biancomangiare served?
Biancomangiare is served cold, as a dessert or snack and is creamy and refreshing. It can be flavored with jasmine flowers, lemon zest and/or cinnamon and topped with chopped nuts or even grated chocolate.
Serve it in bowls or glasses. It can also be molded in decorative shapes very much like gelatin (remember molded Jello?).
The following are step by step instructions with images to guide you through this recipe. Please scroll to the end of this post for the detailed printable recipe card.
Almond milk: unsweetened. Can be replaced with whole cow’s milk.
Cornstarch: acts as a thickener.
Granulated sugar: increase up to 1 cup for a sweeter biancomangiare, if you prefer.
Ground cinnamon and lemon peel: for flavor.
Chopped pistachios: for garnishing.
Step by Step Instructions
Whisk cornstach, sugar, cinnamon and almond milk (or cow’s milk) in a medium sized sauce pan until smooth. Stir in a strip of lemon peel.
Place the pan on the burner over medium high heat. Cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil and begins to thicken and has a pudding like texture. This will take about 5 minutes.
Remove the lemon peel and discard. Spoon the mixture into individual cups or bowls. Alternately, it can be poured in molds. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely before serving, at least 3 hours.
Serve chilled, garnished with chopped pistachios.
Tips and Suggestions:
- If you prefer a sweeter dessert, increase the amount of sugar up to 1 cup.
- Garnish biancomangiare with chopped nuts of your choice such as almonds or hazelnuts or top with grated chocolate.
- Pour biancomangiare into individual serving bowls or cups. It can also be poured into decorative molds, then unmolded onto a plate and garnished with nuts.
Can this recipe be made with cow’s milk?
Yes it can. Replace the almond milk with the same amount of cow’s milk, preferable whole milk.
How long does it keep?
Keep biancomangiare refrigerated, well wrapped, for up to 3 days. Always serve chilled, right out of the fridge.
If you give this easy recipe a try, please let me know how much you enjoyed it by rating it in the recipe card below. Feel free to Pin it for later. Buon appetito!
Check out more refreshing dessert ideas!
- Sicilian Milk Pudding with Cookies
- Gelo di Fragole
- Gelo di Caffè
- Sicilian Grape Must Pudding
- Blueberry Granita
- Neapolitan Ice Cream Cake Roll
- Balsamic Strawberries with Vanilla Ice Cream
For the pudding
- 4 cups almond milk unsweetened
- ⅔ cup cornstarch
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 3 inch strip of lemon peel
- ¼ cup pistachios roughly chopped
- Whisk cornstach, sugar, cinnamon and almond milk (or cow's milk) in a medium sized sauce pan until smooth. Stir in a strip of lemon peel.
- Place the pan on the burner over medium high heat. Cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil and begins to thicken and is pudding like. This will take about 5 minutes.
- Remove the lemon peel and discard. Spoon the mixture into individual cups or bowls. Alternately, it can be poured in molds. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely before serving, at least 3 hours
- Serve garnished with chopped pistachios.
- This recipe may be made with cow's milk (preferably whole milk) in place of almond milk.
- If you prefer a sweeter pudding, add more sugar (up to 1 cup), if desired.
- Garnish with chopped nuts of your choice such as almonds or hazelnuts or top with grated chocolate.
- Pour biancomangiare into individual serving bowls or cups. It can also be poured into decorative molds, then unmolded onto a plate and garnished with nuts after it sets in the refrigerator.
- Serve completely chilled.
- Keep leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Please note that the nutritional information provided is approximate and may vary according to exact ingredients used and portion size.