Finely grind 125 g (4 oz) of Noto almonds.
Warm 300 ml (1 and 1/4 cups) of water, add the sugar and wheat starch and soak the ground almonds in this mixture. After about half an hour pour the mixture into a linen cloth and squeeze several times. Heat the drained mixture and bring to a boil. Pour into pudding molds and refrigerate for a few hours.
Turn the molds out onto dessert plates and garnish the blancmange with almond bits.
Did you know?
A very old local recipe that Corrado Assenza, master pastry-chef at the Caffé Sicilia in Noto, continues to faithfully reproduce, specifically using almonds grown by members of the local Slow Food Presidium. In Sicily biancumanciari or biancomangiare has always meant a white cream based on almond milk or, successively, even a pudding made from cow or ewe’s milk. The classic one is in any case the sweet, once a great favorite with families and described in this recipe. Among the homemade versions, lemon peel is often added as the mixture thickens over heat and then removed before the pudding is poured into the molds. And apropos of molds, those typically used for blancmange and other Sicilian sweets eaten with the spoon were the variously decorated terracotta shells made in particular in Caltagirone (Catania). In gastronomy the term biancomangiare or blancmange was first seen in medieval recipe books but stood for a very different dish often served at nobles’ tables through the Renaissance and even later. For example, in the Libro della cocina (Cookery Book) written in the mid-14th century (and preserved in the University of Bologna library), under the title De’ blanmangieri is the description of a dish based on boiled chicken breasts, rice flour moistened with goat or sheep or almond milk, ginger, lard and sugar: all of them white ingredients.
A delicious dessert, excellent if accompanied by a sweet wine like Kabir, the Moscato di Pantelleria with flowery scents of orange blossom, or Ben Ryé, the Passito di Pantelleria with innumerable fruity sensations, extraordinarily fresh.