Baking, Cakes

Week 4: Blancmange

Steaming into week 4, this weeks technical was set by Prue Leith. Now I feel like I’ve got a bit of a personal vendetta against Prue after setting the Le Gâteau Vert. I found that technical incredible hard so when I heard she had set this weeks technical I thought “oh shit… she’s out to get me”.

Blancmange is a traditional French sweet dessert, made from milk. It is thought to have been created in the Middle Ages, and some believe it’s due to the result of Asian introduction of rice and almonds in early medieval Europe. It has several other names in different countries. Such as “Biancomangiare” in Italian and “Manjar blanco” in Spanish.

This particular dessert was very popular in the 70’s. Quick and easy and available in powder sachets, to which one would add milk.

This bake is a little bit special to me, as my dad told me my Nan used to make this regularly. My Nan passed away 4 years ago, so the thought of making this had a bit of sentimental value to it. Knowing that my Nan used to make this, made me want to perfect it and make her proud.

So, with my apron at the ready (that my best friend Emma brought me for Christmas) I begin my bake!

Ready to bake

First job was to soak the gelatine leaves. I had to take a photo of these because they look like little stain-glass windows, but without the colour of course!

This was soaked for 5 minutes in water, to get the gelatine flexible.

Next was time to make the raspberries into a purée. Raspberries are my favourite fruit to eat, especially with a bit of yoghurt and honey!

Afterwards I had to strain the raspberries in a sieve, so no pips/seeds were left in the purée. I had a bit of a mare with this part as I used a small sieve and put too much purée in, so it kept spilling over the sides and the seeds kept getting into the mixture, so I had to keep starting over. I then added a whole bottle of some very yummy raspberry liquor.

After the raspberry purée was drained, I then set to adding all the components together. I put the cornflour in a pan with the milk, and brought it to a boil, before adding the powdered almonds, sugar and almond essence.

I then added my raspberry mixture to this after it has thickened up. This is where I then transferred it to a mould ready to set.

With a tubby custard kind of look to it, I’ve put it in the fridge to set overnight. I don’t want a Manon moment where it doesn’t set at all! I feel like this will give it a good chance to set thoroughly. Then I will make the Langues de Chat biscuits in the morning, so they don’t go soft (and no one tries to eat one!).

In the morning

My blancmange looks like it’s set very nicely! I have left it in the fridge until I am ready to assemble, once the biscuits are ready. This was the stage I realised no where near me sells crystallised rose petals, and I was not driving 20 minutes to the nearest Waitrose… no way! So I popped round the corner to our local florist, and thought I’d make my own. I coated the petals with some pasteurised egg whites and then covered them in granulated sugar. I popped them in the fridge to speed up the setting process, as I didn’t want to wait til the next day again, to assemble the dessert.

I have never made a biscuit with icing sugar before, so I was really interested to try this for the recipe! I wish I had drawn a line to follow before I put the Langues de Chat in the oven, as they’ve turned out a bit wonky! Never mind the shape, I’m actually really impressed with how they turned out!

Time to assemble

I had finished everything, the rose petals had crystallised and the blancmange has set! Success! Now, this was the point that Prue’s last challenge went tits up… so fingers crossed!

The Blancmange had set beautifully! Melting slightly when I put the mould in hot water, so ease it out, but it still has that signature wobble. I really enjoyed making this dessert, and feel like the score between Prue Leith and myself is 1-1! Let’s hope this success continues!


Have a lovely week!

Chelsea x

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