Take a sweet stroll through Sicily with every luscious bite of the Biancomangiare Cake - a delightful blend of creamy dreams and vibrant flavours that will transport your taste buds to a world of pure indulgence.
Step into the captivating world of Sicilian cuisine with a classic dessert that has stood the test of time - Biancomangiare. Translated as "white food," this delectable pudding traces its origins back to the Middle Ages. Sicily, known for its culinary prowess, offers two basic versions of this delightful treat: one with regular milk and the other with almond milk. To add a touch of excitement, numerous variations and flavours like chocolate, lemon, and cinnamon have been introduced over the years. Join me on a culinary adventure as I recreate my grandmother's cherished Biancomangiare cake recipe and turn it into a showstopper for your next special occasion!
My grandmother would shape her Biancomangiare in a beautiful mould and have half chocolate flavoured and the other half flavoured with lemon zest.
Delightful Grandmother's Touch:
My grandmother's Biancomangiare creation was a true masterpiece. She would artfully shape it using a beautiful mould, dividing it into two halves. One half was infused with the rich, velvety taste of chocolate, while the other half tantalised the taste buds with a burst of lemon zest. The contrasting flavours and visual appeal made every bite a delightful surprise.
An alternative method to prepare Biancomangiare involves reducing the amount of starch, resulting in a custard-like consistency. This creamy delight can be topped with a medley of nuts such as pistachios or almonds and served in elegant cups. In my recipe, I take this luscious cream and use it to fill the layers of a spectacular cake, elevating the experience to new heights.
The foundation of our Biancomangiare cake is a classic Italian sponge cake known as Pan di Spagna. Despite its name, which suggests a Spanish origin, this cake boasts a soft and airy texture that perfectly complements the rich creaminess of the Biancomangiare. Each thin layer of sponge is infused with the flavors of Sicily as it soaks up the Sicilian sweet wine, Marsala. To add a touch of warmth and depth, a generous dusting of cinnamon, another beloved ingredient in Sicilian cuisine, is sprinkled over the soaked sponge.
A Festive Finish:
To make our Biancomangiare cake truly enchanting, we top it off with a vibrant display of colourful sugar sprinkles. These joyful accents create a festive ambiance, making this delightful treat a perfect addition to any seasonal celebration. Let your guests be captivated by the flavours, textures, and aesthetics of this Sicilian masterpiece.
For the Pan di Spagna:
70g 00 flour (you can use any cake flour alternatively)
30g potato starch
125g caster sugar
3 tbsp milk
2 tsp yeast
A pinch of salt
For the Biancomangiare:
500ml full-fat milk
100g caster sugar
50g corn starch
Zest of half lemon
Colourful sugar sprinkles
1/2 glass Marsala wine dissolved in 1/2 glass of water
Firstly, prepare the Pan di Spagna sponge cake.
Divide the egg yolks and egg whites and beat the yolks with the sugar and two tablespoons of milk until you get a light and foamy batter.
Add the remaining milk, the starch, the flour, a pinch of salt in batches while continuing to mix. Lastly, stir in the yeast and mix well, then gently fold the whipped egg whites.
Line the oven baking tray with parchment paper, pour the mixture and level it well - it should be about 1-2 cm thick, no more than that.
Bake at 180C for 10 minutes. Times may vary slightly depending on the oven, check with a skewer.
Allow the cake to cool slightly, then brush with the marsala-water mixture. Then cut the cake into 12 equal rectangles.
Now prepare the biancomangiare cream.
Add all the milk minus 50ml to a pan on a medium-low heat and dissolve the sugar in it while stirring. Add also the lemon zest.
Whisk the corn starch into the remaining milk making sure there are no lumps, then add this mixture to the pan. Reduce the heat to low, and use a whisk to stir continuously until the cream starts to thicken and pull off the pan edges. This should take about 10 minutes.
Moving quickly, as the cream will start to solidify as it cools down, take one rectangle of sponge cake, dust it with cinnamon and cover it with a layer of biancomangiare cream. Then top with a second layer of cake, again dust with cinnamon, followed by another layer of biancomangiare. Lastly, top with one more layer of cake, dust with cinnamon and top with the sugar sprinkles.
Repeat with the remaining sponge and cream - you should obtain 4 cakes of 3 layers each. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours before eating.
So, what are you waiting for? Transport yourself to the enchanting land of Sicily through the flavours of Biancomangiare. With its roots in the Middle Ages, this simple yet sophisticated dessert has evolved into a culinary delight cherished by generations. By infusing the Biancomangiare into the layers of a Pan di Spagna cake, we have elevated this traditional recipe to new heights of indulgence. So, gather your ingredients, unleash your creativity, and embark on a journey to delight your taste buds and those of your loved ones. Celebrate the joy of Sicilian cuisine with this glorious Biancomangiare cake, a dessert that embodies the rich heritage and culinary passion of this vibrant region.