The secrets to a delicious blancmange are to warm the almonds to develop more flavor, let the almond-milk mixture steep overnight, and use as little gelatin as possible.
- Servings: 6
Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 2000
- 4 cups whole blanched almonds (1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 to 5 cups milk
- 2 sticks cinnamon
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
- Blancmange Macaroons (optional)
- Fresh berries for serving (optional)
Heat oven to 200 degrees. Place almonds on a sheet pan, and let warm in the oven for 10 minutes. (Do not let almonds color, or the blancmange will not be white.) Allow almonds to cool slightly, and transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Puree almonds and sugar until very fine and clumps start to form, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium saucepan, and add 4 cups milk, the cinnamon sticks, and 1 1/2 cups water. Warm on medium heat until hot but not bubbling. Turn off heat, and allow to steep, covered, overnight, or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. (The longer the mixture steeps, the more flavor the blancmange will have.)
Fill a 4- to 4 1/2-cup mold with ice water, and set aside. Rinse a large piece of heavy-duty cheesecloth (if thin, use a double layer) in hot water, and wring as dry as possible. Place a sieve over a bowl, line the sieve with the cheesecloth, and pour in the almond mixture. Let almond milk drip through for 30 minutes, then carefully gather up the ends of the cheesecloth, and wring as much of the liquid out as possible. The milk mixture should be smooth; if any pieces of almond pass through, strain the mixture through a very fine sieve. Discard cinnamon sticks. Reserve remaining almond mixture to make macaroons if desired. Pour almond milk into measuring cup (there should be at least 3 cups almond milk), and add enough of the remaining milk to make 4 cups of liquid. Transfer mixture to a bowl.
Pour 1 cup almond milk into a wide heatproof bowl. Add the cream, then sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften. Place bowl over a shallow pan of simmering water over low heat. Stir gently until mixture is smooth and creamy, indicating the gelatin has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. Stir half the remaining almond milk into gelatin mixture to reduce temperature, then stir gelatin mixture into remaining almond milk. Pour ice water out of mold, but do not dry out mold -- this makes the blancmange easier to unmold later. Pour almond milk into mold through a sieve to catch bits of congealed gelatin. Chill until firm, about 6 hours or overnight.
To unmold, carefully run a small knife around edge of mold to break the seal; use fingers to gently pull pudding away from edges. Invert serving platter on top; quickly turn over. Jiggle to loosen; remove mold. Serve with macaroons and berries if desired.