History Cookbook: Almond Leach/Leech, a kind of Milk Jelly
Day 1: Put the ground almonds in a heatproof dish and measure the boiling water.
Put the almonds in a heatproof dish and pour the boiling water over them. Leave for 15 minutes.
Strain the almond mixture through a sieve or cloth. A cloth will give you smoother milk but takes longer.
Day 2: Soak the gelatine in water for a few minutes.
Put the sugar and milk/almond milk in a saucepan.
Remove the softened gelatine from the cold water.
Dissolve the gelatine in the warmed milk.
Pour the milk into a jug, it's easier to pour into the glasses from a jug.
Pour the milk into glasses and put in the fridge to set (preferably overnight).
Day 3: Ingredients for the wine/ grape juice jelly.
Put the wine/grape juice in a pan to warm, you could add a little sugar if it is very tart.
Soak the gelatine in cold water for a few minutes.
Chop a few rose petals.
Dissolve the gelatine in the warmed wine/grape juice.
Put the chopped rose petals in the pan. Leave this to cool but not set.
Remove the set milk jellies from the fridge.
Spoon the cool but not set wine/grape jelly on top of the set milk jelly and return to the fridge to set.
Comments: This modern version is quite straight forward as the 2 jellies are made on top of each other in the same glass.
Preparation Time: This is a lengthy dish to prepare as each part needs to set before continuing. Making the jelly only takes 15-20 minutes altogether but the layers need to set overnight.
Cooking Time: Warming the milk and wine
Number of servings: 4 small glasses
Serving suggestions: Serve cold at the end of a meal. Delicious with spiced apple juice.
This pudding is a little like a blancmange. There are milk versions but this one was a dish for Lent when the Tudors would not use milk. Almond milk was used during Lent instead.This is a high table dish for a gentry family and is served attractively. It is time consuming to make requiring setting time and a swift hand when turning out.The top half of the leach is coloured with red wine.
This period recipe explains how to make Almond Leach (Leech).
Take a quart of almond milk and three ounces of gelatine, half a pond of beaten sugar; stir them together. Let it be thick. Then strain it with three spoonfuls of rosewater. Then put it into a platter and let it cool, and cut it in squares. Lay it fair in dishes, and lay gold upon it.
Note: you can use any milk to make this pudding if you do not wish to use nuts.
- 1 pint full fat milk ( or Almond Milk- see recipe)
- 2-3 leaves of gelatine
- 2 oz sugar
For the Almond Milk, if you want to try making it:
- 250g almonds/2 tablespoon rice flour moistened with 550ml water
For the Wine Jelly:
- 1/4 pint wine ( or grape juice)
- 1 leaf of gelatine
- 5-6 rose petals or a little rose water
- a few raspberries or redcurrants
- Weighing scales
- Measuring jug
- Wooden spoon
To make Almond Milk: (Note: You need to make this the day before)
- Roughly 250g almonds/2 tablespoon rice flour moistened with 550ml water, is about the right proportions to end up with 1 pint of almond milk.
- Cover the ground almonds with the boiling water, stand for 15 mins, rub through sieve/ cloth. Straining trough a cloth produces a smoother milk. If it is a bit thin- add rice flour and warm in a pan until it thickens.Cool and put in the fridge overnight. Almond milk goes off very quickly
To make the Leach:
- Make the milk jelly first:
- Soak the gelatine leaves in water
- Warm the milk/ Almond milk ( do not boil)
- Add the gelatine and stir until disolved
- Pour into glasses and set overnight ( Putting it in the fridge helps)
- Soak the gelatine leaf
- Warm the wine
- Disolve the gelatine in the wine
- Chop and add the rose petals or a teaspoon of rosewater
- Leave to go cold
- Spoon the cold wine mixture onto the set milk pudding and return to the fridge to set
- Once both parts are set, decorate with a few raspberries and serve
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