Recipe: Chai Spiced Carrageen Moss Pudding with Mango, Berries & Star Anise Salsa

I discovered carrageen moss pudding at Ballymaloe Cookery School, and I have to admit I thought it was one of the most delicious desserts I had ever eaten. I’m not sure everyone would agree, but I like the fact that it isn’t very sweet and the texture, the way the whisked egg whites rise to the top of the pudding, makes me dreamily think I’m eating clouds. At Ballymaloe I first ate it with softly whipped cream and soft brown sugar, this is very traditional and very yummy. For a recent supper club inspired by local produce and wild foods found around Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland and our love of Asian flavours I adapted the Ballymaloe carrageen moss recipe recipe to create this chai spiced version.

Chai spiced tea reminds me of a holiday in Goa, India  a few years ago. Stopping at street stalls and little roadside restaurants for tea breaks to drink sweet spiced milky tea and various delicious fried snacks was a highlight. Endless cups of chai tea also fuelled us through a rather long mosquito-ridden stopover in Mumbai airport!

Carrageen Moss (Chondrus Crispus or sometimes called Irish Moss) is a seaweed that grows along the rocky European and American Atlantic coastline. It is a brilliant ingredient for a vegetarian menu as it is an alternative setting agent to gelatine. It is also added when brewing beer as a fining (an ingredient which helps make a clearer beer). You can forage carrageen moss yourself along the Irish and British coastlines and then wash and dry it before use (it will go dry and crispy in a warm dry place in about 24 hours). However, if that seems a step too far you can also buy Carrageen produced by an Irish Company called Wild Irish Sea Veg , Indie Fude are online stockists.

Adapted from the Ballymaloe Cookery School Carrageen Moss Pudding recipe.

Serves 8 in individual portions

Ingredients:

For the pudding:

7g dried carrageen moss

900ml full fat milk

15g ginger (sliced)

6 cloves

4 cardamom pods (lightly crushed)

1 small cinnamon stick

1 large egg

1 tablespoon caster sugar

A little soft brown sugar to serve

For the salsa:

100g granulated sugar

150ml water

2 star anise

2 mangoes (chopped into 1cm cubes)

100g blackberries

50g blackcurrants (all stalks removed)

Soak the carrageen moss in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 10 minutes until rehydrated. Strain the water off the carrageen moss.

Put the milk in a saucepan and add the spices (fresh ginger, cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick). Add the strained carrageen moss.

Put the saucepan on a low heat and slowly bring the milk mixture to a gentle simmer. Simmer gently (covered) for about 20 minutes. You need to be careful not to let the milk boil over so I find it is best to use the lowest ring and (if you have one) a heat diffuser.

After 20 minutes remove the milk mixture from the heat. Strain the milk mixture through a sieve to remove the spices and the carrageen moss. As you strain you need to make sure that you get all the jelly out of the carrageen moss (this is the natural setting agent that will make the puddings go firm and jelly-like as they cool). To do this push the carrageen moss against the sieve with a wooden spoon and make sure you scrape all the jelly off the underside of the sieve and into the milk mixture.

Separate the egg. Add the tablespoon of sugar to the egg yolk and whisk together until the sugar is dissolved. Then pour the spiced milk onto the egg yolk & sugar whisking the whole time until full combined.

Finally whisk the egg white into stiff peaks. Gently fold it into the spiced milk mixture, it will rise to form a cloud-like fluffy topping. Pour the pudding into eight individual glasses or jars and allow to cool before popping into the fridge to set.

To make the salsa. Put the granulated sugar, water and star anise in a small saucepan over a gentle heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and then turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for two minutes and then turn off the heat. Allow the syrup to cool and then remove the star anise.

Put the blackberries and blackcurrants in a saucepan with the cold syrup and cook over a gentle heat for about five minutes, until the syrup is just staring to boil and the berries have released their juices but haven’t totally collapsed. Allow to cool a little.

Serve the carrageen moss pudding in it’s individual glass with a sprinkling of soft brown sugar on top, arrange the chopped mango on the side of the plate with the berry and star anise compote drizzled over the top of the mango.