Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Junket according to the NSOED, comes from an Old French word jonquette (spelled various ways) meaning a rush basket but also a kind of cream cheese made in such a basket. From the latter meaning it came to have its modern one: a dish of sweetened and flavoured curds (produced by the action of rennet on milk). It can also mean a banquet or festive gathering.

Dorothy Hartley (1954) has the following to say, starting with a very precise admonition:

Junkets are made best in the peat country in the west of England.

In modern making, the milk is heated blood-warm and set with rennet. Rum is a usual flavouring, and clotted cream a usual accompaniment; often a powdering of nutmeg or cinnamon, covers the top.

The older junkets were usually made with the milk warm from the cow, and apparently curds and whey were sometimes listed as ‘junkets’ in old cookery books.