Thursday, March 03, 2011

Blancmange for Dessert

Some Brits fondly refer to blancmange (blə-mɒnʒ) as “shape.” Similar to Italian panna cotta, This custard is made with whole-fat milk, cream, eggs, and sugar. But the key ingredient to this rich silky dessert is carrageen, aka Irish moss — without it, it's just pudding. Some recipes call for agar, cornstarch or gelatin as a substitute.

Blancmange is derived from Old French for “white food.” It was found on the tables of the upper-class, dating as far back as the Middle Ages, although the original recipe includes shredded chicken meat and almonds... yuk, that’s just wrong!

This is the same dried carrageen that Lucy sent to us from Ireland. After soaking in cold water, the dark purple bundles bloom into delicate lavender and cream petals. Carrageen dissolves easily in hot liquid to form a thick liquid.

This custard from the UK is actually easy to make, and you probably have most everything you need in your kitchen... except for the Irish moss of course. For this blancmange recipe and detailed instructions visit

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