01 Nov 2011

Isn’t flummery a wonderful word? I love the way it falls from the tongue…fl..fl..fl…flum…flummmmmery. I came across this recipe when I was digging for something different to do with the Kilbeggan Organic oats that I never got to use for my demo at Electric Picnic this year. {Boo Hurricane Irene}

We have been enjoying the beautiful porridge for brekky, but I wanted to do something really special to share these oaty gems here. And, after a weekend of inspiration following Savour Kilkenny and  The Great Irish Food Debate, which {for me} enlivened the celebration of truly traditional + historical cookery in Ireland, I couldn’t resist sharing this recipe. A classic flummery.

It is thought that flummery originated in the United Kingdom and made its way into Irish homes in the 18th century. Essentially, a flummery using oats or cornstarch was originally more or less a thickening agent which evolved into a sweet dessert thereafter.

So simple: toasted oats and almonds + honey and whiskey folded into thick, rich cream. These ingredients were available in the 18th century and commonly used for festive recipes. When I look back through my mother-in-law’s cookbooks and beyond, it is really incredible to see how creative the early tastemakers were with so very little ingredients on hand. Delicious. And gluten-free…perfect dinner party or Sunday lunch dessert.


from Classic Irish Recipes by Georgina Campbell

Serves 4-6

1/3 cup almonds (sliced)

2 ounces Irish oats {or, if you are not in Ireland, any organic oats will do}

1 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup Irish whiskey

1 -2 cup berries (optional)

Toast the almonds and oatmeal in a pan until slightly browned. Set aside.

Whip the cream until smooth, but not stiff.

Warm the honey VERY slightly, so that it will run easily.

Fold the honey, whiskey, half of the toasted almonds & oatmeal, half the berries if using them into the cream.

Mix thoroughly, but lightly, and spoon into tall individual glasses.

Sprinkle the remaining almonds/oatmeal and berries on top.

Chill and Serve.

Slan Abhaile,


Photos and styling by Imen McDonnnell 2011

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32 Responses to “Flummery”

  1. Fleta says:

    You got to push it-this esntiesal info that is!

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  4. Aoife Mc says:

    Gorgeous as always, Imen. I have never heard of flummery but I too am totally into how the word sounds…and how I imagine the dessert must taste! Definitely keeping it in mind. And I must ask my granny about it the next time I’m visiting. Might bring back some memories for her 🙂

  5. imen says:

    Yes! Festive…indeed. Magda’s word for booze is great…BUZZ! lol. Give it a go and let me know what you think. I think it’s scrummy. Obv not low in cals but at least low GI. x

  6. It is indeed a great word! And yes, it sounds: Mouth Watering. I love discovering old recipes here! Thanks for this. Now I shall book mark this page and try it myself soon.

    • imen says:

      Isn’t it fun?! It’s so easy…and also can be festive for a holiday party. Thanks for your comment. I am a big fan of your blog. x

  7. Niamh says:

    Oh – this is just lovely! Thanks for sharing. Will try it.

    • imen says:

      Thanks Niamh, this made my morning! Just had a look at your latest post …mmmm. soda farls. I must try from your book and do a post. How do you do everything that you are up to and not collapse…I admire your energy! xx

  8. nessa robins says:

    I don’t think I ever tasted Flummery before but the combination of flavours sound delicious. I love Kilbeggan Oats and they are actually located only 10 mins from me. This looks like a nice easy dessert that would be perfect for entertaining.

  9. This sounds ah-may-zing! I love the way it combines the best of Irish produce to make something creamy, boozy and delicious – the addition of the oats gives it a health kick too!

    • imen says:

      It’s going on our Thanksgiving dessert menu this year for sure! Simple and delicious. Thanks Sharon. xx

  10. It’s so important to keep these old recipes alive. Thank you. And this one’s practically a health food it’s got so much goodness in it 😉

    • imen says:

      Yes. I believe that to be true as well. There is no way better way to get to know a new culture than through it’s cookery as I am learning. It’s a great adventure. Thanks Sally xx

  11. Flummery seems more tasty and appealing than I could of imagined. All the photos that came up when researching flummery were quite worrying really. Thank you for the beautiful blog post – I have nothing but love for flummery now.

    • imen says:

      Yes, the information online is quite worrying….but this recipe is divine. I am glad I was able to help you fall in love with flummery. I love your site btw…must place an order very soon. Adore the picnic blankets.xx

  12. I’m with Sue….I LOVE historic recipes. This looks and sounds really appealing. I’m intrigued.

  13. Krista says:

    I adore the name flummery!!! I’ve used it in a different context and had no idea it was the name of FOOD! 🙂 How perfectly splendid. Now I must make it. 🙂

  14. Ilke says:

    Ahh..you have whiskey in it!! I love old, timeless recipes! 🙂

  15. Kristin says:

    I’d never heard of flummery before but it sounds lovely, thanks for sharing! Gorgeous photos too. x

    • imen says:

      Thanks Kristin, it’s a nice idea for a simple dinner party dessert you can do the night before. Classic. xx

  16. Joanne says:

    Do you have any idea where the word “flummery” comes from? I’d love to know the origin. It’s a delicious sounding recipe, and the gluten-free aspect is great to know.

    • imen says:

      As with many, “traditional” Irish recipes, it came over from the UK…Welsh from what I can gather. But, has been here in Ireland since the 18th century according to Georgina Campbell. It’s yummy and GF which is nice. xx

  17. This looks delicious! I’m all for decent-tasting gluten free recipes, because they’re sometimes hard to come by…

    And flummery is totally my new favorite word 😉

  18. Just beautiful. I’m fascinated by historic foods. They can be so complicated, or, like this one, so simple. Are the oats cooked, or raw?

    • imen says:

      Hi Sue, for this recipe the oats were toasted raw. I think there are variations on actually using fermented oat starch water as well.

  19. Mmmm, sounds good. Especially with an addition of the buzz 🙂

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