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Vanilla & Blood Orange Flummery

Flummery as a dessert sounds like a bit of an old fashioned concept doesn’t it? That’s because it is. First mentioned in Gervaise Markham’s ‘Countrey Contentments’ or ‘English Huswife’ book of 1623 it was a peasant dish of oatmeal steeped in water and boiled to thicken it and served with butter. Over time, the dish evolved with additions such as ground almonds and calves foot as a setting agent, becoming a style of blancmange. By 1769, Mrs Raffald in ‘The Experienced English Housekeeper advised…

When you make flummery,
always observe to have it pretty thick…

A Dessert That Spans The Ages
Fast forward to 1981 and my first encounter with flummery. Passionfruit Flummery was a dessert our Home Economics teacher, Mrs Moller, decided was an important addition to our culinary journey. The thing about 1980’s home ec classrooms was that they were fairly scant on equipment. A couple of ovens, rolling pins, a few mixing bowls, some blunt knives and orange laminex benches were what passed for our kitchen. There were no Mixmasters or electric beaters so we used good old fashioned rotary egg beaters. They certainly did the job in thickening and adding volume but as you need to beat the mixture for at least 15 minutes, our arms were nearly dropping off. That’s why I remember my first flummery so well.

My friends at Redbelly Citrus sent a box of blood oranges so I was keen to start cooking with them. I recall that 1980’s flummery being made on evaporated milk and passionfruit which seems likely given the need for a liquid to suspend the pulp in. This blood orange version however, is dairy free, using the addition of small amount of flour to assist in thickening the juice. The longer the flummery is whipped, the frothier the mixture and the lighter the colour will become. Changing from blood red to a pale pink. The vanilla adds fragrance and hints at white chocolate. Blood oranges are at their peak at present. They have a short season in Australia so make sure you hunt some out and enjoy their sweet/savoury flavour.

Vanilla & Blood Orange Flummery

Vanilla & Blood Orange Flummery


  • 4 blood oranges, juiced (approx 450 mls)
  • 1 cup water (250 ml)
  • 1 cup sugar, white or raw (approx 230 – 250g)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp powdered gelatine or 6 gelatine sheets (gold)
  • 1 tspn vanilla bean paste or extract (or 1 vanilla bean, scraped)


  • Place the flour in a bowl or cup and mix a small amount of juice with it to dissolve flour and form a slurry.
  • Place the slurry, juice, water and sugar in a saucepan. If using powdered gelatine, add this in as well and whisk.
  • Bring liquid to the boil and then reduce heat to simmer for a few minutes. Stir constantly. Remove liquid from heat.
  • If using gelatine sheets, soak sheets in cold water for 1 minute, squeeze out excess water and add to saucepan. Stir gelatine sheets into hot liquid. Make sure the pan is removed from heat.
  • Place hot liquid with gelatine into a large heatproof bowl and allow to cool slightly before placing in fridge for 1 hour.
  • Remove liquid from fridge when it has started to set around the edges. Add the vanilla and beat using electric or rotary beaters for 15 – 20 minutes until mixture has thickened, is frothy and the become much paler in colour.
  • Spoon into pretty glasses, dishes or one large bowl and cover.
  • Return to fridge and allow to set for at least 2 hours.
  • Serve with slices of blood orange and whipped cream if desired.

Serves 6 – 8

Blood Orange Quartet 1
16 comments… add one
  • Joanne T Ferguson August 7, 2015, 8:38 pm

    I love blood oranges Fiona and love their versatility! I loved the history behind your blog post today and of course your recipe! I wish I could come through the screen and try it now! Pinned and shared!

    • Fiona Ryan August 8, 2015, 8:59 am

      Thanks Joanne – it was fun to make and a trip down memory lane.

  • Sherry from sherryspickings August 7, 2015, 9:38 pm

    Now that’s spooky. I was literally talking about flummery yesterday. Yep made with evaporated milk and jelly crystals. Your version looks good.

    • Fiona Ryan August 8, 2015, 8:59 am

      It is spooky. Now I want to make the evap milk version but with only two of us, it takes quite a while to get through the flummery.

  • Glenda August 8, 2015, 2:14 am

    Everyone is blogging about flummery lately. Until recently I had never heard of it and now I just have to make one. 🙂

  • pamela hayward August 8, 2015, 5:44 pm

    Flammable takes me back to my mother and my country upbringing. I remember it to be soft and sweet – delicious! I must ask my older sister how it was flavored Q maybe jelly crystals and evaporated. Love those oranges!

    • Fiona Ryan August 10, 2015, 4:40 pm

      I should have mentioned that I reduced the sugar as I wanted it to be tangy. We had the last of it last night on fruit salad – perfect!

  • THE HUNGRY MUM August 9, 2015, 12:13 am

    1623! Now there’s a recipe with a great pedigree! I love blood oranges, lucky you being sent some.

    • Fiona Ryan August 10, 2015, 4:40 pm

      Thanks Pamela. It’s amazing what you can find on Google!

  • Jan Rhoades August 9, 2015, 8:52 am

    Yum yum. I’m not sure you would eat flummery or junket or blancmange when you were young…but then mine would not have been nearly as glamorous as your marvellous creation. You’ll have to make some for me one day.

    • Fiona Ryan August 10, 2015, 4:41 pm

      Junket no but blancmange, yes. My baby book says I loved it!

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime August 11, 2015, 5:10 pm

    I have never heard the term Flummery before. Thank you for sharing the history behind it 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan September 23, 2015, 5:56 pm

      Tandy – I can’t believe that! I thought you’d be all over it. I’m sure there is some exotic fruit in SA that you can adapt this recipe to : )

  • Liz Posmyk (Good Things) October 20, 2015, 2:17 pm

    I loved the narrative in the introduction, Fiona… not sure I’ve ever had flummery, but your recipe might inspire me to try it! Lovely to catch up at EDB xx

    • Fiona Ryan October 21, 2015, 10:24 am

      Thanks very much Liz. Yes, see you soon – surely before the next EDB!?

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