Blancmange. Don’t you love the name? I’m being a bit sarcastic here. The name doesn’t exactly evoke an appetizing dessert to the ear but rather something like a mass of sticky, starchy rice or overcooked oatmeal that has turned into a slab of unrecognizable white mush after being refrigerated. Something you would eat if you were hospitalized if you know what I mean. Yuck.
Fortunately blancmange tastes nothing like it sounds. It’s a light and delicate almond-flavored dessert with a beautiful texture that sits on the tongue somewhere between mousse and flan; not too foamy and not too solid; doesn’t melt in your mouth right away but doesn’t require any tooth intervention either. Just beautiful. Just what you would want after a delicious meal.
I adapted this recipe from Chez Panisse Desserts by replacing the suggested 1/4 cup of sugar by 1/4 and 1 tablespoon of honey and by using store-bought almond milk instead of making my own.
Adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts
Makes about 6 to 8 servings
- 1 tablespoon gelatin
- ½ cup water
- 1 1/8 cups unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ cup and 1 tablespoon honey
- A pinch of salt
- 1 3/8 cups whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small saucepan and let stand 5 minutes. Whip the cream until it holds a light shape. Warm the gelatin mixture over low heat until dissolved. Add the honey and salt.
Stir the gelatin-honey mixture into the almond milk and set it over an ice bath. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula until the mixture is slightly thickened and coats the spatula. Remove the mixture from the ice bath and fold it into the whipped cream. Stir in the almond extract.
Using a paper towel, lightly oil a 1-quart mold or individual-size molds with canola oil. Pour the mixture into the mold (or molds) and chill for several hours until set.
To serve, loosen one edge gently with a knife, set a plate on top of the mold and invert.