Carrageen Moss Pudding
Carrageen is a valuable wild food, loaded with vitamins, minerals, trace elements and natural gelatine. Part of the diet of coastal people for generations, the red algae grows in cool Atlantic waters. It helps metabolism to work to its optimum and holds anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. A natural gelling agent, it helps to set liquids and give body to soups, stews and jams. It’s best to pick carrageen soon, in the lowest spring tides, anywhere along the west coast of Ireland. Once dried, it keeps indefinitely, so we recommend that you stock up!
One of Darina Allen’s favourite desserts is a Carrageen Moss Pudding. She includes the recipe in Forgotten Skills of Cooking. We like it best served with some poached rhubarb.
7g cleaned, well-dried carrageen moss
900ml full-cream milk
1 vanilla pod or ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 organic egg
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Soak the carrageen in a little bowl of tepid water for 10 minutes. It will swell and increase in size.
Strain off the water and put the carrageen into a saucepan with the milk and the vanilla pod, if using. Bring to the boil and simmer very gently, covered, for 20 minutes.
At that point and not before, separate the egg, put the yolk into a bowl, add the sugar and vanilla extract, if using, and whisk together for a few seconds, then pour the milk and carrageen moss through a strainer onto the egg yolk mixture, whisking all the time. By now the carrageen remaining in the strainer will be swollen and exuding jelly. You need as much of this as possible through the strainer and whisk it into the egg and milk mixture.
Test for a set in a saucer as one would with a gelatine. Whisk the egg white stiffly and fold or fluff it in gently; it will rise to make a fluffy top.
Serve chilled with soft brown sugar and cream. Or with rhubarb, as we like best.