Discovering the Sweet Treat: What Dessert is Oftentimes Called as Blancmange?

What’s in a name? Apparently, quite a lot when it comes to sweet treats. For decades, there has been confusion surrounding what is known as blancmange. While some may argue that this gelatinous dessert originated in medieval France, others believe it has roots in the Middle East. Regardless of its origins, one thing is certain – this dessert has become a stalwart in many households worldwide.

For those who are unfamiliar with blancmange, it is a dessert that is traditionally made with milk or cream, sugar, and gelatin. Some variations add in flavors such as vanilla, rosewater, or almond extract. It may also include whipped cream for added texture and richness. The dessert is typically set in a mold and served cold, making it the perfect summer treat.

Despite being a classic dessert, blancmange has seemingly fallen out of favor in recent years. Perhaps due to its links with more dated recipes, it isn’t often found on many restaurant menus or in the baking aisle at the grocery store. However, don’t be too quick to dismiss this classic dessert – it can be easily adapted to suit modern palates and is a fun addition to any dinner party menu.

Origins of Blancmange

Blancmange is a French dessert that has been enjoyed for centuries. Its name literally translates to “white dish,” which is indicative of its pale, creamy appearance. The origins of blancmange can be traced back to the Middle Ages, where it was considered a fashionable dish to serve at banquets.

During the medieval times, blancmange was made by combining chicken or fish with rice and almond milk. It was then boiled until it thickened into a creamy pudding-like texture and seasoned with sugar, cinnamon, and other spices. This dish was often served as a savory course but could also be sweetened with sugar and used as a dessert.

Evolution of Blancmange Recipe

  • In the 17th century, more elaborate versions of blancmange were created with the addition of other ingredients such as cream, egg yolks, and flavorings like rosewater or orange blossom water.
  • The Victorian era saw the dish become a popular dessert for the middle and upper classes. It was often served in elaborate molded shapes and decorated with fruits and flowers.
  • Today, blancmange has evolved into many different variations, with regional differences across the world. In addition to the traditional almond or coconut milk base, it can be made with rice, cornstarch, gelatin, or agar-agar.

Blancmange Recipe Variations

There are many variations in the preparation of blancmange depending on the ingredient used and the region. For instance, the traditional French blancmange is made with almond milk, while English blancmange is made with cream. The Portuguese version is known as Manjar Branco, which is made from coconut milk and condensed milk with cornstarch as the thickener.

Country Base Thickener Flavorings
France Almond Milk Ground Rice Vanilla, Cinnamon, Almond extract
England Cream Gelatin Vanilla, Lemon Zest
Portugal Coconut Milk Cornstarch Cinnamon, Vanilla, Condensed Milk

Despite the changes in ingredients and the evolution of the dish, blancmange remains a popular dessert among many cultures to this day.

Blancmange vs. Panna Cotta

Blancmange and panna cotta are two dessert dishes that are often compared to each other due to their similarities in appearance and texture. However, they are different in terms of origin, ingredients used, and preparation methods.

  • Origin: Blancmange is a dessert of French origin that dates back to the Middle Ages. It was traditionally made with almond milk, sugar, and cornstarch. On the other hand, panna cotta is an Italian dessert that originated in the Piedmont region. It is made with cream, sugar, and gelatin.
  • Ingredients: Blancmange typically contains milk, cream, sugar, and cornstarch. Its classic flavor comes from almond extract or rosewater. On the other hand, panna cotta is made with cream, sugar, and gelatin. It may also include vanilla bean, berries, or citrus zest for added flavor.
  • Preparation: Blancmange requires cooking the milk and cornstarch mixture until it thickens, adding sugar and flavorings, then pouring it into a mold to set. Panna cotta involves heating the cream, sugar, and gelatin until the gelatin dissolves, before pouring it into a mold to set in the refrigerator. Panna cotta is typically served chilled, while blancmange can be served hot or cold.

Although both desserts are creamy and smooth, blancmange is denser than panna cotta due to the addition of cornstarch. Panna cotta has a softer texture and a delicate, silky mouthfeel that melts in your mouth.

Both desserts are popular in different parts of the world. Blancmange is a classic dessert in France, England, and Spain, while panna cotta is a beloved dessert in Italy and has gained popularity around the world. Regardless of which one you choose, blancmange and panna cotta are delicious, elegant desserts that are perfect for a special occasion or a simple treat.

So, whether you’re in the mood for a classic French dessert or an Italian favorite, blancmange and panna cotta are two desserts that you won’t regret trying!

Traditional Blancmange Recipes

Dating back to the Middle Ages in Europe, blancmange was traditionally made from almond milk, rice, and sugar. It was a luxurious dessert reserved for the wealthy and was often served at banquets and special occasions. Over the years, blancmange has evolved and taken on different variations, but it still remains a popular dessert in some parts of the world.

  • English Blancmange – This version of blancmange is made with milk, cream, sugar, and cornstarch, and is served chilled with a fruit compote or jelly. It is a staple dessert in England and is often served during the Christmas season.
  • French Blancmange – In France, blancmange is made with almond milk, rice flour, and sugar. It is often flavored with rosewater and garnished with slivered almonds and whipped cream.
  • Indian Blancmange – In India, blancmange is known as ‘Phirni’ and is made with ground rice, milk, sugar, and cardamom. It is often served at weddings and other special occasions.

Blancmange can also be made with chocolate, coconut milk, and various other ingredients, making it a versatile dessert that can be customized to one’s preferences. It is an easy dessert to make at home and is perfect for serving at dinner parties or family gatherings.

If you’re looking for a show-stopping dessert that is both delicious and elegant, blancmange is a great option. Whether you choose to make the traditional version or experiment with different flavors, it is sure to impress your guests and leave them wanting more.

Ingredient Quantity
Almond Milk 2 cups
Rice Flour 1/4 cup
Sugar 1/2 cup
Rosewater 1 tbsp
Slivered Almonds 1/4 cup
Whipped Cream 1/2 cup

Here’s a simple recipe for French blancmange that you can try at home:

  1. Heat the almond milk in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rice flour and sugar.
  3. Gradually pour the rice flour and sugar mixture into the almond milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
  4. Add the rosewater and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes.
  5. Pour the mixture into individual serving dishes and let them chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  6. Garnish with slivered almonds and whipped cream before serving.


Variations of Blancmange

Blancmange is a dessert that traces its roots to medieval Europe. It is known for its smooth, creamy texture and white color. While the traditional recipe calls for almond milk, sugar, and cornstarch, modern variations have emerged over time.

  • Fruit-infused Blancmange – Infusing fruit flavors such as raspberry, strawberry, or peach adds a touch of freshness to the delicate dessert. Many recipes use pureed fruit mixed with the blancmange base before refrigeration.
  • Chocolate Blancmange – Chocolate lovers can indulge in a rich, decadent treat by adding cocoa powder or melted chocolate to the almondy milk mixture. The result is a dessert that resembles a chocolate pudding.
  • Coconut Blancmange – Desiccated coconut gives this dessert variant a tropical twist. Added to the blancmange mixture, it brings a unique texture and flavor to the dish.

Blancmange also varies by the type of milk used. While almond milk is the traditional choice, many recipes use cow’s milk, coconut milk, or soymilk for a dairy-free version. Cream can also be added to the calf’s foot jelly to produce a richer and more luxurious consistency.

Lastly, garnishes and toppings transform a simple blancmange into a visually appealing dessert. Popular garnishes include pistachios, almonds, or fresh berries. Whipped cream and chocolate shavings also work well as a finishing touch.

Recipe Milk Garnish
Traditional Almond Milk Almonds and Raspberries
Coconut Coconut Milk Desiccated Coconut and Mango Slices
Chocolate Cow’s Milk Chocolate Shavings and Whipped Cream

Blancmange is a versatile dessert that can be adjusted to one’s liking. Whether it’s a fruit-infused, chocolaty, or coconutty flavor, there’s a blancmange recipe for every palate.

Blancmange in Popular Culture

Blancmange is a dessert that has gained popularity in various cultures around the world. It has also made several appearances in popular culture, showing up in books, television shows, and movies. Here are some notable mentions:

  • In the Harry Potter series, there is a character named Professor Flitwick who is described as having a head that resembled a “giant blancmange.”
  • In the television series Sherlock, there is an episode called “The Blind Banker” where the villain demands a blancmange from the hostage negotiators.
  • The beloved children’s show Blue’s Clues featured an episode with a song titled “What Did Blue See?” which included the lyrics “Blue skidoo, we can too, into this sketch. Is it a bowl of blancmange or a fancy hat?”.

Blancmange has also appeared in various cookbooks, both old and new. In Victorian England, it was a popular dessert and thus appears in many recipe books from that time. More recently, it has been featured in various cookbooks focused on vegan or dairy-free recipes, as blancmange can be made using alternative milks such as almond or oat milk.

Here is a table outlining the ingredients and steps for making a classic blancmange:

Ingredients Steps
Milk 1. Heat milk in a saucepan, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
Sugar 2. Once milk is hot, add sugar and stir until dissolved.
Cornstarch 3. In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch with a small amount of cold milk to make a slurry.
Vanilla extract 4. Add cornstarch mixture to hot milk and stir constantly until thickened.
Almond extract (optional) 5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and almond extracts (if using).
6. Pour mixture into a mold or individual dishes and chill in the refrigerator until set.

Blancmange may be an old-fashioned dessert, but it has proven to be timeless in its versatility and cultural relevance. From Harry Potter to vegan cookbooks, it seems that our love affair with blancmange is here to stay.

Blancmange Dessert Pudding Mixes

Blancmange is a delicious dessert that originated in medieval Europe. It is prepared by boiling milk, sugar, and almonds, which are then mixed with cornstarch or gelatin. This results in a creamy, smooth pudding-like dessert that is often flavored with vanilla, rosewater, or other flavorings. In modern times, there are different variations of blancmange dessert, including pudding mixes that are available in grocery stores all over the world.

  • Easy preparation: Pudding mixes for blancmange dessert are very easy to prepare. You can simply add milk to the mix, cook it for a few minutes, and let it chill until it sets. This makes for a convenient dessert option for people who lack the time or equipment to start from scratch.
  • Cost-efficient: Pudding mixes are also more cost-efficient compared to making blancmange from scratch. You only need to buy a few ingredients, and the mixes are considerably cheaper than purchasing each ingredient separately.
  • Consistent taste and texture: Using a pudding mix ensures that the blancmange will have a consistent taste and texture every time you prepare it. This is because the mixes are formulated to produce consistent results, removing any guesswork when it comes to preparation.

However, while pudding mixes for blancmange dessert are generally easy to use, it is important to keep in mind that not all brands are equal. Some may have a different consistency or may not set as well as others. It is also essential to read the instructions carefully, as the preparation may differ between brands.

To ensure that you get the best quality and value for your money, it is recommended to do some research before purchasing a pudding mix for blancmange dessert. Consider reading customer reviews or asking for recommendations from friends or family. With the right mix, making blancmange at home can be a hassle-free and enjoyable experience.

Vegan Blancmange Recipes

Blancmange is a traditional dessert that is loved by many. But did you know that there are vegan versions of this classic treat? Here are some delicious vegan blancmange recipes that you can try:

  • Coconut Milk Blancmange – For this recipe, you need coconut milk, cornstarch, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix the cornstarch and the coconut milk in a pot until it dissolves completely. Add the remaining ingredients and cook it over low heat until it thickens. Pour it into small bowls and let it chill for a few hours.
  • Almond Blancmange – To make this recipe, you need almond milk, potato starch, sugar, vanilla extract, and agar agar powder. Mix the potato starch and almond milk in a pot until it dissolves completely. Add the remaining ingredients and cook it over low heat until it thickens. Pour it into small bowls and let it chill for a few hours.
  • Raspberry Blancmange – This recipe requires raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Puree the raspberries and strain it to remove the seeds. Mix the cornstarch and almond milk in a pot until it dissolves completely. Add the raspberry puree, sugar, and vanilla extract. Cook it over low heat until it thickens. Pour it into small bowls and let it chill for a few hours.

If you want to make your vegan blancmange more exciting, you can add toppings like fresh fruits, coconut whipped cream, or chocolate shavings. Get creative with your garnishes!

Here’s a table that summarizes the ingredients you need for each recipe:

Recipe Ingredients
Coconut Milk Blancmange Coconut milk, cornstarch, sugar, vanilla extract, salt
Almond Blancmange Almond milk, potato starch, sugar, vanilla extract, agar agar powder
Raspberry Blancmange Raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, almond milk, vanilla extract

Enjoy your vegan blancmange and indulge in a healthy dessert!

What Dessert is Oftentimes Called as Blancmange? FAQs

Q: What is blancmange?

A: Blancmange is a dessert made with milk or cream, sugar, and gelatin or cornstarch to thicken the mixture. It can be flavored with vanilla, almond, or rosewater.

Q: What does blancmange mean in French?

A: Blancmange means “white food” in French, which accurately describes the color and texture of this dessert.

Q: What is the origin of blancmange?

A: Blancmange has its origins in medieval Europe and was a popular dish in England during the 17th century. It was often served at banquets and feasts.

Q: What is the texture of blancmange?

A: Blancmange has a smooth and creamy texture, similar to a custard or pudding.

Q: Can blancmange be made with non-dairy milk?

A: Yes, blancmange can be made with non-dairy milk such as almond milk or coconut milk. However, the texture may be slightly different.

Q: Is blancmange still popular today?

A: Blancmange has lost some of its popularity over time but it can still be found in some European countries, particularly in France and Spain.

Q: What are some variations of blancmange?

A: Some variations of blancmange include adding fruit puree or chocolate for flavor and incorporating whipped cream for added creaminess.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for taking the time to learn about blancmange! This classic dessert may not be as popular as it once was, but it still holds a place in the culinary world. Whether you decide to make a traditional blancmange or put your own spin on it, we hope you enjoy this sweet treat. Be sure to come back for more food-related articles in the future!