Bienmesabe – Canarian Creamed Almond Pudding
Bien-me-sabe translates as “tastes good to me”, which is such a strange name for a dessert, but at the same time a fitting description. It is a popular and fairly simple dessert in the Canary islands, and like so many Spanish dishes it has it’s origins in Arabic cuisine. A bit of internet sleuthing suggests that a lady called Matilde Arroyo was responsible for making the recipe as popular as it is today in the islands, every website on the topic seems to repeat that she is “la madre de bienmesabe”. I didn’t get to go to La Palma island, but here is a link to her award winning pastry shop. I also found recipes for an Andelucian version “Bienmesabe Antequerano”, which seems to be essentially the same only some of the recipes use sweet wine as an ingredient. Depending on how much water you boil off (and also if you chill it) bienmesabe can be prepared as anything from a thin sauce to a set dessert.
Some recipes call for toasted almonds and the original recipe I am translating uses raw almonds, however here I am using blanched and peeled ones as it just saves an awful lot of time and effort. I have included an image of the recipe I am translating, if you look at it you will notice I have quartered the amounts of ingredients as this is a very rich recipe. This amount makes more than enough to use it as a sauce for topping ice-cream for 4 or so people. Only make more if you are going to be feeding quite a large group of people or are happy to face the consequences of tooth decay!
– Recipe –
125g Blanched and Slivered Almonds // 190g White Sugar // 125mls Water // 2 Egg Yolks // Zest from half a Lime // 1/2 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
- Peel and grind the Almonds (to a texture like grit, most pulverized with some small pieces remaining)
- Make a syrup by slightly heating the Water, and adding the Sugar when it has warmed a little, stir regularly.
- The moment the syrup is ready (the Sugar has dissolved) add in the Almonds, Lime Zest and the Cinnamon. Leave it on a low heat to thicken for a few minutes, cool it.
- When it is cold beat the Egg Yolks into the paste then put it on the heat until it just reaches a boil.
- Let it cool before serving. In some areas it will also be topped with peeled toasted Almonds.