Junket (dessert)

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Junket is a milk-based dessert, made with sweetened milk and rennet, the digestive enzyme which curdles milk. It might best be described as a custard or a very soft, sweetened cheese.

To make junket, add milk (usually with sugar and vanilla added) is heated to approximately body temperature and the rennet, which has been dissolved in water, is mixed in to cause the milk to "set". (Temperature variations will inactivate the enzyme in the rennet, causing the dessert to fail.) The dessert is chilled prior to serving. Junket is often served with a sprinkling of grated nutmeg on top. For the majority of the 20th Century, in the eastern United States junket was often a preferred food for ill children, mostly due to its sweetness and ease of digestion.

The same was true in England, where in medieval times junket had been a food of the nobility made with cream, not milk, and flavored with rosewater and spices as well as sugar. It started to fall from favor during the Tudor era, being replaced by syllabubs on fashionable banqueting tables and by the 18th century had become an everyday food sold in the streets. By the mid-20th century it was little eaten except by convalescing children and in south-western England.

In the United States, junket is commonly made with a prepackaged mix of rennet and sweetener from a company eponymously also known as Junket.

The word's etymology is uncertain. It is clearly related to the Norman jonquette (a kind of cream made with boiled milk, egg...
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