Blancmange, meaning white food or white dish, is a European stiff pudding dating back to the Middle Ages. Originally made with cream, almond milk, and shredded meat, the blancmange eventually became a popular dessert with the European aristocracy. Typically white or pink in color, blancmanges were thickened with gelatin or cornstarch and set in elaborate molds.
I based this blancmange on an English recipe I came across in a used bookstore. The recipe called for fresh puréed raspberries (seeds strained), heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and gelatin. I adjusted the ingredient proportions and added cognac for flavor. The fresh raspberries were tart and sweet, and the whipping cream tasted rich and creamy. I served this mold (see picture right – yup I’m wearing pearls!) at a French Dinner Night I hosted with my friend Monti.
This Raspberry and Cognac Blancmange lacked the lush, smooth texture of molds made with sweetened condensed milk – but that may be because I used too much gelatin. I need to experiment more with heavy cream-to-gelatin proportions. I will continue this experimentation when I start my boozy panna cotta series.