print this recipe Print this recipe   save to disk Save to disk   Full version with graphics

Almond Leech

This recipe is in categories Desserts, Tudors,
About this recipe:
Difficulty: 3

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."

The recipe given below explains the methods used in the podcast. For a modern version to cook yourself use the page link.

For pictures of the cooking process see our Almond Leech Picture Gallery.

With thanks to Cathy Flower-Bond (Tudor Tales) and the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum for their help with making this podcast.


Making and cooking it
  1. Make the almond milk by pouring warmed white wine through the ground almonds in a cloth
  2. Mix the almond milk with gelatine to make a white pudding. Pour into a dish.
  3. Leave to set hard
  4. Warm wine by the fire, add the gelatine. You can also add chopped rose petals. Pour into a smaller dish and leave until set
  5. When both halves are set, turn the white pudding out first onto a serving platter. Turn the red one out on top of the white one
  6. You can warm a few red berries in wine by the fire and spoon this over the top
  7. Add a little cream onto the platter and perhaps a few berries on the top of the leech to decorate and serve