Biancomangiare is an Italian almond milk pudding spoon dessert that is 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 cookies or after dinner as a dessert. This almond milk pudding is easy to make at home because it calls for just a few ingredients and you can make it in no time flat!
The original biancomangiare recipe is from Sicily, where there are lots of regional variations. Some recipes include soaked almonds, others almond milk, and still others cow or sheep milk.
You can also have fun adding flavors you like, just like Italians do, with a dash of lemon zest, some chopped pistachios, or even some edible jasmin flowers or cinnamon blossoms sprinkled on top.
Equipment you need
medium sized pot with thick bottom for cooking the mixture.
whisk for whisking the almond milk pudding mixture.
sharp knife for cutting the vanilla bean and removing the seeds.
cutting board for cutting the vanilla bean.
6 molds or small bowls for chilling the almond milk pudding.
6 dessert plates for serving the biancomangiare.
Here are the few ingredients you will need to create this almond milk pudding at home:
Almond milk (4.23 cups | 1 liter) – you will need unsweetened almond milk or reduce the amount of sugar you use if it is already sweetened so that the biancomangiare almond milk pudding doesn’t come out too sweet.
Granulated sugar (1.5 cups | 300 grams) – use a good quality white granulated sugar in this almond milk pudding recipe and reduce the quantity if the almond milk is already sweetened.
Cornstarch (1.17 cups | 150 grams) – this is what will make your biancomangiare become a pudding like consistency.
Vanilla bean pod (1 whole) – to remove the seeds, slice the vanilla bean pod down the length of the entire pod, spread open and scrape out the seeds to use them directly in the dish. If you don’t have a vanilla pod, you can substitute with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Pistachios (as desired for topping) – use good quality pistachios without the shell, toast them lightly if desired and crush or chop and sprinkle on the top of the dessert.
How to make biancomangiare step-by-step
Make the pudding: In a small pot, sift the sugar and the cornstarch together and mix (photo 1). Cut open the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the seeds (photo 2).
Add the vanilla seeds to the sugar and cornstarch in the pot. Add the almond milk and mix very well, making sure there are no lumps. Place the pot on the stove over low heat, mixing with a whisk until it boils.
Pour into molds and chill: Remove it from the heat, mix quickly, and then pour the mixture into six small molds previously dampened by cold water (photo 5). Place in the fridge for 5 hours.
Decorate and serve: Flip each mold onto a dessert plate and decorate the top with a handful of crushed or chopped pistachios (photo 6).
Expert tips for making biancomangiare
No clumps. Be sure there are no clumps in any of the dry ingredients by sifting them before adding them. Add the almond milk very slowly, whisking the whole time, so that no lumps form. Break up any lumps that you do see before pouring into the molds.
Chill sufficiently. If you want your biancomangiare to have the consistency of a pudding you must let it set up sufficiently by chilling it in the fridge, covered by saran wrap, for at least 5 hours. You can even leave overnight if you want to make it the day ahead.
Variations of biancomangiare
Creative toppings. You don’t have to use crushed pistachios, you can use all kinds of different toppings for this very versatile Sicilian almond milk pudding. You can sprinkle it with cinnamon or a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. You can use other types of nuts such as crushed almonds or peanuts. Some other additions include lemon zest, edible jasmin flowers or cinnamon blossoms sprinkled on top.
Go chocolatey. If you are a chocolate lover and can’t imagine a dessert without chocolate, you can even go chocolatey with some chocolate shavings or chocolate chips either instead of or together with the pistachios.
Other dessert recipes to try:
How long will biancomangiare keep in the fridge?
Biancomangiare Sicilian almond milk pudding can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days if it is covered with plastic wrap. Leave it in the dessert molds and flip out onto a plate and decorate with pistachios only right before serving.
What dessert wine goes well with biancomangiare?
The combined delicateness of milk and the slight aroma of almonds means that biancomangiare almond milk pudding goes perfectly with some of the best Sicilian dessert wines. Once harvested, the grapes for these wines are left to dry 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.
Is biancomangiare the same as panna cotta?
Biancomangiare is a sort of cousin to panna cotta. The main difference between the two is that panna cotta uses cream and then gelatin to thicken it and biancomangiare uses almond milk and then cornstarch to thicken it. The preparation methods used in cooking both desserts are very similar, especially in modern times, but they come from different places and backgrounds.
Where did biancomangiare originate?
The name “Biancomangiare” was first used in the Middle Ages for 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, 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.