Classic Irish Carrageen Moss
This recipe, as well as the Chester Cake and Elderflower Gelatins are from a new book of Irish cooking by Clodagh McKenna. I chose this one for the use of the natural thickener, carrageen moss. It is a seaweed found in many traditional recipes from the UK but this is the first we have featured. I am always interested in playing and experimenting with new ingredients, even when they are classic and just new to me. I found mine through a local whole foods store but you can also check Amazon if you cannot find it locally. It is mild in flavor and is hard to describe but it provides a lovely soft-gelled texture if used in the amounts as suggested. The floral rose water accents the tart rhubarb quite well and the whole vanilla bean really brings all the flavors together, so don’t skimp on that ingredient.
Excerpted with permission from Clodagh’s Irish Kitchen: A Fresh Take on Traditional Flavors by Clodagh McKenna. Published by Kyle Books. Photography by Tara Fisher.
Carrageen moss is a red seaweed found on the West and South coasts of Ireland. The seaweed has been used in recipes for years in Ireland as a natural thickening agent. It has a very subtle sea flavor, and you can find it in health stores, where it is sold in dried form. This pudding is light and fluffy, sweetened by the delicate rose water and lifted by the tangy rhubarb compote. It’s perfect to serve as a dessert after fish as it cleanses the palate. If you are unable to get your hands on rose water, you can just leave it out.
- 1 cup dry Irish (carrageen) moss
- 3 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- 1 vanilla bean
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs, separated
- For the rhubarb compote
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 91/2 ounces rhubarb, chopped
- In a bowl, soak the moss in lukewarm water for 15 minutes. Drain and place the moss in a saucepan with the milk, rose water, vanilla bean, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens to the consistency of yogurt, about 30 minutes.
- Pour through a strainer into a bowl, pushing the natural gelatin from the moss through the strainer.
- Place the egg yolks in a separate bowl and beat in the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Beat in the strained milk mixture.
- In another bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then fold them into the mixture with a metal spoon. Use a figure-of-eight motion to get rid of any blobs of egg white.
- Fill six small pots with the mixture, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.
- Make the rhubarb compote: In a saucepan, heat the sugar with 1 tablespoon water and then add the rhubarb. Let simmer gently for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Serve the rose water pots with the rhubarb compote on top.