Thursday 16 February 2012

Blancmange with strawberries

I was in the mood to make something sweet today!! My husband was in Mumbai on Valentine's Day and was returning today after a four day trip so, I wanted to surprise him with something really special - a kind of belated Valentine's Day celebrations. 
Just the other day, while watching the program "Glamour puds" (which I just love) on Fox Traveler, I was really impressed with the pudding that the host Eric Lanlard was making, which was "Blancmange with pears". It seemed quite simple and easy to make. I  thought why not  make something similar with a little bit of innovation. I decided to use strawberries instead of pears as the market is flooded with strawberries and also because my kids absolutely love them. Also, instead of the traditional way of making custard with milk and eggs, I opted for the more modern and quick way and made  the custard out of a box. I added some condensed milk and cream to it which really enhanced the flavors and richness of the custard. The end result was a total explosion of colors and flavors.
 Blancmange comes from the Old French blanc-manger, which literally means “white-to eat”. It’s pronounced as “blummonge”. The "whitedish" was an upper-class dish common to most of Europe during the middle ages and the early modern period. It  is a sweet, white pudding prepared with almond milk and gelatin and flavored with vanilla. 
So, enjoy my  simple version of this classic french dessert  - Blancmange with strawberries.

200 gms strawberries
1 pkt  strawberry jelly ( I used Weikfield's) 
2 cups Vanilla custard
1/2 cup cream
1/4 tin condensed milk
3 tbsp gelatin (prepared)
1 tsp vanilla essence

Slice the strawberries into halves and layer them on the bottom of a round tube pan.
Prepare the jelly as per the directions given on the back of the box. 
Pour the jelly mixture on top of the layered strawberries. Cover with cling film, transfer to the fridge and allow to set and chill for 2 hours.

To make the custard, take 500 ml milk in a pan.
Take a little milk and dissolve 21/2 tbsp custard powder in it and make a fine paste.
Add the condensed milk, stirring constantly. 
Boil the sweetened milk. While boiling, add the above paste slowly. Stir continuously and cook for 2 minutes.
Once the custard starts to thicken, take off the heat and add the cream.
Next, add the prepared gelatin to the custard.
Mix well and put aside to cool.
When the custard has completely cooled down, pour it on top of the strawberry and jelly, filling the pan right till the top.
Put again in the fridge to set for at least 3-4 hours.
To serve, dip the jelly mould into a bowl of hot water to loosen the sides, then quickly turn it out into the centre of a serving plate. Sprinkle the strawberries around the edge of the plate.
To prepare the gelatin - soak the gelatin in 12 Tbsp water. Leave to set for 10 minutes. Then leave the bowl to stand in another bowl of hot water and stir with a spoon till the gelatin melts and becomes a clear liquid.


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