Menjar Blanc (Almond Cream Custard)

Gluten Free · Dairy Free · Vegan Friendly · Vegetarian

5 Mar · Written by Raquel Jones


In Spain, the culinary landscape boasts an intriguing facet—many dishes are inherently vegan, their origins tracing back to a necessity to abstain from meat and dairy during Lent. This remarkable recipe encapsulates this tradition, offering a delightful way to savour the essence ofCrema Catalana, or any custard, sans the inclusion of eggs or dairy.

You can use regular cow's milk for a nut-free version or opt for oat milk to keep it vegan and nut-free. The versatility of one dish!

As for almonds in Spain, they hold a fascinating historical significance. Spain is one of Europe's leading almond producers, and almonds have been a vital part of Spanish cuisine for centuries.

The Moors, who once ruled parts of Spain, significantly influenced the cultivation and usage of almonds. They introduced almond trees to the region, and almonds quickly became a staple in Spanish cooking.

One of the most iconic Spanish almond dishes is Turrón, a nougat-like confection made with almonds and honey. It has deep historical roots and is traditionally enjoyed during the Christmas season. My simpleSpanish Nougat recipeis perfect for home-made gifts. Almonds are also a key ingredient in many Spanish desserts, such as marzipan and almond cakes. Try mySpanish Powdered Biscuits recipe, they're delicious.

Almonds also play a role in Spanish culture and traditions. In some regions of Spain, it is customary to give Jordan almonds, a type of sugar-coated almond, as wedding favours. These almonds symbolise good luck, fertility, health, wealth, and longevity.

So, when you savour dishes featuring almonds in Spain, you're not only indulging in delicious flavours but also connecting with a rich tapestry of history and tradition.

Bon profit! Raquel x

Menjar Blanc (Almond Cream Custard)

Serves 4 - 6 (depending on your serving dish size)

INGREDIENTS for making your own Almond Milk (if desired skip step & use store bought)

  • 500 g blanched and peeled almonds

If doing the 'cheats' version (see recipe hack), omit the almonds and substitute with 1.25 L of high-quality, store-bought almond milk. You can also use oat milk for a nut-free version.

INGREDIENTS for making Almond Cream

  • Peel of 1 lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 3 shakes of cinnamon powder
  • Seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod, (cut in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out) or 1/4 tsp of good quality vanilla paste
  • 150 g very fine caster sugar
  • 100 g rice flour or Arrowroot flour
  • 2 drops of almond extract (optional)
  • extra ground cinnamon for serving

Part 1. If making Almond milk from scratch (otherwise go to Part 2.)
  1. Place the lemon peel, cinnamon, vanilla and 1 L of water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring everything to the boil over a medium heat and add the almonds. Boil for 2 mins.
  3. Remove pot from heat and allow flavours to infuse for 10 mins.
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick (if used) and lemon peel.
  5. Place the remaining liquid and almonds into a blender and purée to a fine paste.
  6. Tip the paste into a muslin/cheesecloth/nut milk bag, over a bowl and squeeze out all liquid. Note: You should be left with about 750 mL of liquid (almond milk).
  7. Set the liquid (almond milk) aside and reserve the almond pulp separately.
  8. Bring 500ml of water to the boil in a clean saucepan.
  9. Remove pan from the heat and add the almond pulp, whisking well.
  10. Strain the contents of the pot once again through your cloth/nut bag - into your bowl of ready almond milk. At this point, you should now have just over 1 litre of liquid (almond milk) in total.

Save leftover pulp and store in refrigerator. It is no longer needed for this dish, however, it can be reused in another recipe. See below for some ideas.

Method 2. If using store-bought Almond milk 

  1. Pour the almond milk into a saucepan, over medium heat and add sugar
  2. Gently stir until the milk begins to steam and the sugar dissolves
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in rice flour (or Arrowroot flour, whichever using)
  4. If mixture is too thick, add more water to the cream to loosen a little - not too much thought, or it won't set properly in the fridge. Also, (if using) add the almond extract now (for a more intense flavour).
  5. Divide the mixture between 4-6 pudding bowls
  6. Allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, if not overnight.
  7. Serve chilled.


If making your own almond milk is too daunting and time-consuming:

Use store-bought almond milk. Be sure to buy good quality almond milk with a high % of almonds.

If you don't have very fine caster sugar:

Place regular sugar into a food processor and blend until it fine. REMEMBER to STOP before it becomes powdered 'icing' sugar.

Save leftover pulp and store in refrigerator. It is no longer needed for this dish, however, it can be reused in another recipe. See below for some ideas.


Shake together 100 mL of your preferred milk with a shot and a half (42 mL) of Liquor 43 over ice, and serve it chilled. Alternatively, you can use Amaretto if you can't get your hands on the delightful Morey Almond Liqueur from Mallorca here in Australia (I can't find it here, which is a bit of a pity, given how delicious it is!).

For added texture and flavour, garnish each serving with crushed almonds or toasted almond flakes. If you fancy a touch of spice, a sprinkle of cinnamon and some indulgent Morello cherries make for a tempting combination!