On October 14, 2011 I published a review of Ellen Evert Hopman’s latest book “Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore”. If you missed the review, feel free to give it a read now, but to sum up; it had a ton of information and I really liked it. One of the things I really enjoyed was that Hopman included recipes for some traditional Scottish dishes. As most of you know, I do love to try new foods, so Jim and I decided to try the recipe for flummery that appeared in the book.
Now Hopman didn’t go into extensive detail about the flummery, and there wasn’t an image or photo of the dish, so I decided to poke around online to see what I could learn about a proper flummery and what it looks like.
Wikipedia describes it thusly, “Flummery is a sweet soft pudding that is made from stewed fruit and thickened with cornstarch. Traditional British flummeries were, like porridge, often oatmeal-based and cooked to achieve a smooth and gelatinous texture; sugar and milk were typically added and occasionally orange flower water. The dish is typically bland in nature. The dish gained stature in the 17th century where it was prepared in elaborate molds and served with applause from the dining audience.
The word also came to mean generally dishes made with milk, eggs and flour in the late seventeenth and during the nineteenth centuries. In Australia post World War II, flummery was known as a mousse dessert made with beaten evaporated milk, sugar and gelatine. Also made using jelly crystals, mousse flummery became established as an inexpensive alternative to traditional cream-based mousse in Australia.”
Much to my surprise there was a whole world of flummery recipes out there of assorted origins and ingredients. I found several Irish flummery recipes that were very similar to the Scottish one in “Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore”, but there were dozens of recipes that shared almost none of the same ingredients to the recipe I was using. So what is the flummery recipe from Hopman’s book?
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup oatmeal
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons honey
1/4 whisky (we used Drambuie)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-2 cups berries
Toast the almonds and oatmeal in a pan until slightly browned. Set aside.
Whip the cream until it is smooth, but not stiff.
Warm the honey very slightly so that it will run easily.
Fold the honey, whisky, half of the toasted almonds and oatmeal, and half of the berries plus the lemon juice into the cream.
Mix thoroughly, but lightly, and spoon into individual glasses. Sprinkle with remaining almonds, oatmeal and berries on top.
Chill and serve.
Despite many internet sources touting the blandness of flummery, that was not the case with what we made. It was lighter than a pudding, but denser than a mousse, rich and creamy laced with the faint but distinct flavor of the Drambuie. The berries added a tart flavor and the toasted oats and almond blended in great. It was like a bad ass version of a yogurt, berries, and granola parfait.
There you have it folks, flummery. A tasty treat and just one of the many reasons I enjoyed “Scottish Herbs and Fairy Lore”! If any of you guys try the recipe out, or have your own flummery knowledge, share it with us in the comments!