Carageen what! - Unless you've been to Ireland you are unlikely to have come across carageen
seaweed much. But you might be surprised at how much it crops up on ingredient lists of commonly eaten foods. Last Summer I met fellow blogger Peggy
when I visited Cork, Ireland on a short trip. One of the stops on our day-trip was to the English market in Cork. I had wanted to try Carageen for a number of years after seeing it featured on a Rick Stein TV programme. Carageen seaweed
is common on beaches in Ireland and is also known as Irish Moss
. It is traditional to use carageen as a thickener for soups, sauces, and to thicken milk in order to make Carageen Pudding.
Dried carageen is washed and soaked in water to soften it.
Dropped in milk and brought to the boil for about 20 minutes. You can flavour it with any number of things. I added a vanilla pod
to mine. Gradually you will see the milk thicken like custard as the carageen releases its gelatine. Another way that carageen is used commercially is in the thickening of low fat yoghurts and low calorie diet foods. Have a look on the list of ingredients next time you are in a supermarket.
The milk thickens up as the carageen gets softer and softer. It has no real taste of its own so this was really a test for me. Next time I might use cardamom, or honey, or lemon.
When thickened strain through a sieve and push the remains of the gelatine through the sieve. I then whisked into the mix a couple of spoons of sugar, one egg yolk, then folded in an egg white. This adds quite a bit of air to the pudding and gives it a lovely light texture.
In only a couple of hours it had set into a lovely light carageen pudding. This would be lovely I think with some stewed fruit or a raspberry sauce. It would also set beautifully into a shaped mould.