Juniper Junket

17 Nov 2012

This post was not meant to be junket. I fully intended on a charming Charlotte Russe. But, somehow I got distracted in the “invalid cookery” section of a very old Irish secondary school cookbook and the rest was history.

I know….…sacrilege.

But, don’t go off the boil. Let’s give junket a chance. Maybe you’ve had it, maybe you’ve at least heard of it. Maybe you’re thinking what is she on about now? Up until this morning, I had never journeyed into the world of junket before. Thing is, junket is not new. It’s old enough to be a classic in these parts. Still, the jolly junket was lost on me. Despite being a particularly popular pudding here, junket evolved over the years and began to mean many things to many different countries and many different people. There is even a brand called Junket that features the very sweet “Little Miss Muffet Junket” which has been peddled in various parts of the world, including once upon a time in the USA. When I embarked on my junket research, I was astounded that I had never come across it before. Now, I gotta say, I’m jousting for junket.

Junket is similar to panna cotta, except it is essentially cheese. Could there be a better combination? I would consider it a mildly sweet, silky, soft, cheese pudding. It floats and lingers on your tongue until you can’t resist squishing it up against the roof of your mouth before it slips into swallowville. The texture alone makes it tempting, but the sweet milky flavour is sheer comfort by the spoonful.

Junket is just fine prepared plain with just a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.

But, if you add a drop of booze to the mix, you shall be eternally grateful.

And, if you jazz it up with juniper berries and vanilla bean, I promise you’ll be a lifelong devotee {especially if you fancy the odd G&T’}

The only stone left unturned? Why is junket confined to the “invalid” section of the cookbook?

Because I want to eat it every day.

Have you ever tried junket? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your junket stories!

Jolly Juniper Junket

Makes 6 dessert cups

700 ml full fat milk {I use raw milk from the farm, but have tested with pasteurised and will work if whole (full fat) milk}

1 tbsp sugar

1.5 tsp non GMO vegetarian rennet {readily available at healthfood stores}

3 tbsps fresh or dried juniper berries

Scraped seeds of one vanilla bean

Optional, grated nutmeg or a splash of brandy or rum

Gently warm the milk until the sugar dissolves.  Steep the juniper berries and vanilla bean seeds in the milk for one hour.  Gently reheat the milk until it reaches blood temperature (only takes a couple minutes. if you heat the milk too much the rennet won’t set). Strain berries from milk, gently stir in the rennet, and immediately pour into serving glasses or a large glass dish. If preferred, sprinkle nutmeg over the top. Let rest to set for 1.5 hours to set, and either eat at room temperature or place in the fridge overnight for a chilled treat.

If you are adding booze, add in right before the rennet.

Slan Abhaile,


I will be taking part in The Kitchen Archives: From Spoon to Screen at the stunning National Library of Ireland  this Tuesday, 20 November from 7-8:30pm. Food writer and blogger, Aoife Carrigy, chairs a lively panel discussion on the whys and hows of food blogging along with a detailed prevention on food styling and photography by Donal Skehan.

“Mary’s Junket Party” image sourced from here. Food photographs and styling by Imen McDonnell 2012 with added styling tips [“sprinkle the juniper berries on top, mom”] by our little farmer who just turned 7!

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23 Responses to “Juniper Junket”

  1. […] have recipes from Imen of Farmette with Juniper bookmarked. I thought I would try making ras al hanout […]

  2. Jim says:

    You refer that the difference between Junket and Panna Cotta is that Junket is cheese based and Panna Cotta milk based. That is incorrect. Both are milk deserts. The difference lies in the solidifier. Junket is made with Rennet which is an enzyme derived from the gut of a young calf. Panna Cotta is Gelatin made from boiling bones of cows. Junket has been a food source for many centuries, where Panna Cotta is more recent, and probably is a modified version of Junket.

  3. Certainly will be giving this a try!

  4. […] past two weeks I’ve stumbled upon some incredible food blogs. One of them is farmette and her Juniper Junket recipe had me at ‘juniper’. I can’t wait to try it or her Sh’mores but […]

  5. Abigail says:

    I’ve never even heard of junket before! (I know: what rock…?) But you had me at juniper berries. Panna cotta is a favorite of mine, so quick and easy and endlessly adaptable. But I can’t wait to try this! Now to find rennet in France (the irony!)… And so happy to have found your beautiful blog 🙂

  6. Christian Rene Friborg says:

    I’ve never had a junket experience before, but this post makes me want to try one.

  7. Sonia says:

    I always associated “junket” with 1950s americana. In the states I think it was a brand like “jell-o” and I read once that Marilyn Monroe was on a steady diet of junket. I always thouht of it as flavor-it-yourself type of gelatine like knox and had no idea it was a real dessert! Gorgeous photos!! Xx Son

  8. Junket has always been a fascination to me since I had it once when I was very little – your description of it is perfect – it is almost mystical and I love that it can’t be moved until set adding to that mystery – alas I am now a vegetarian and no longer eat rennet but I am still wistful for junket. I have found though that with careful preparation you can achieve similar results with agar agar. Thanks for this lovely post – the addition of juniper berries is a stoke of genius.

    • imen says:

      Hi Patricia, the rennet I use is vegetarian. I must amend my recipe now to note this. Then, you can try it! x

  9. Krista says:

    Oh my lands, this looks and sounds SO delicious and homey and comforting and wonderful. 🙂

  10. Alicia says:

    Mmmm I really like junket but I’ve never had it with juniper since I’ve always had it with vanilla. So, now I’m very curious.

  11. Mise says:

    What a dashing and handsome young farmer! I have never tried junket, despite having been captivated by the thought of it years ago in the What Katy Did books. It always seemed the stuff of fiction, so thank you for bringing it to reality for me with a recipe.

    • imen says:

      Awww thanks Mise, he will be thrilled to read your compliment. Must look up What Katy Did books! Never heard of them, but they sound wonderful!

  12. I’ve never had it before!
    Must have a try, it looks and sounds delicious. Mind you, Juniper berries might be hard to find where I live. Love those old recipes 🙂

    • imen says:

      Hey hon, you can find the berries in health food stores…where do you live? It’s a lovely old recipe =) x

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Imen, what a fantastic & unique recipe. I imagine it tastes so scrumptious made with your fresh from the farm milk. I do fancy a G&T (a little more often than the odd time, I must admit!), so this is being bookmarked tout suite!

    • imen says:

      Nothing beats a G&T on a summer’s day….well, yes more than one =) If you try the recipe, I’d love to see the results! Thanks Elizabeth xx

  14. Laura Monahan says:

    I just found your blog and enjoy it very much. This recipe sounds lovely. I’ve never cooked with juniper berries but have some in my pantry – this sounds like a good place to start.

    • imen says:

      Hi Laura, thank you for your comment =) Give it a try with your berries and let me know how you get on! x

  15. I was almost sure I know what junket is, I checked in a dictionary and it said budyn –
    I read the recipe and well it is not budyn. So no I have never tried a junket, but I would love to.
    I’m really curious about the juniper and vanilla combination as I use juniper for meat.

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