Chocolate Blancmange, pronounced “blah-mahnj” is an old English dessert that is light and velvety smooth. Even though it contains no eggs, the texture of Chocolate Blancmange reminds me of a chocolate mousse. A good Blancmange has a slight wobble to it, and is amazingly delicious and easy to make.
Blancmange translated as “white dish” was popular throughout Europe and the Middle East in the Middle Ages. Originally, it was made with almond milk, chicken, sugar and rose water. By the mid-17th century, the chicken was replaced by isinglass which was a type of gelatin made from fish. Later, the thickener of choice was sea moss gel. Today, cornstarch and/or unflavored gelatin provide the distinctive wobble and texture.
Blancmange was mentioned in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Jo brought it to Laurie who was not feeling well. The blancmange was surrounded by “a garland of green leaves and the scarlet flowers of Amy’s pet geranium.” Laurie proclaimed that it was “too pretty to eat.” However, Jo insisted, saying it was so soft it would “slip down without hurting your sore throat.”
Later in season 3 of Downton Abbey, Mrs. Patmore made Rose Blancmange flavored with rose water from Mr. Mosley’s prized roses.
Most recently, the Master Taste Tester commented that my Nutella Gelato tasted like the Chocolate Blancmange that his grandmother made when he was a little boy. However, the texture was different. That provided the inspiration for me to try my hand at making it. My first attempt, thickened with only cornstarch, produced something more akin to a pudding that was too chocolaty. My second attempt had less chocolate and was thickened with cornstarch and unflavored gelatin. It was a winner and is featured here!
Ingredients for Blancmange:
I used the following ingredients for this delicious blancmange: Milk, unflavored gelatin, granulated sugar, unsweetened cocoa, cornstarch and vanilla extract.
Preparing the Gelatin
The first thing that I did was to soften the gelatin by adding it to some of the milk. Once I had sprinkled the gelatin on the milk, I gave it a good stir and set it aside until it swelled or “bloomed” as it absorbed the liquid.
Making the Chocolate Blancmange
While the gelatin was “blooming,” I focused on making the Chocolate Blancmange. First, I added the sugar, cocoa and cornstarch to a saucepan. Then, I whisked the ingredients together to combine everything.
Next, I added the rest of the milk to the dry ingredients and whisked everything together.
After that, I set the saucepan over medium heat. I cooked the mixture, stirring constantly, until it thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. This took about 5 minutes.
Once the mixture had thickened, I added the “bloomed” gelatin. I stirred the Chocolate Blancmange together to ensure that the gelatin was fully dissolved and everything was fully incorporated.
Finally, I poured the Chocolate Blancmange into individual molds that I had lightly oiled. The reason for oiling the molds was to ensure that the blancmange was easily unmolded.
I covered the molds and put them into the refrigerator to allow the blancmange to firm up. To serve, I dipped the mold into hot water for about 5 seconds. Then, I unmolded the Chocolate Blancmange onto a plate. It unmolded with no problem at all! I added a dollop of whipped cream and a raspberry on top.
The Chocolate Blancmange was incredible. It had the characteristic slight wobble to it and was velvety smooth with just the right amount of chocolate. The Master Taste Tester proclaimed that it was even better than his grandmother’s! Yum!
- 2 1/2 cups milk, divided (See Tip 1)
- 1 Tablespoon (1 packet) unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to the inside of the mold(s). Set aside. (See Tip 2)
- Sprinkle unflavored gelatin over 1/2 cup cold milk; stir to combine. Allow to sit for 5 minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom.
- Whisk together sugar, cocoa and cornstarch in a small saucepan.
- Whisk in remaining 2 cups of milk to the saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat; add gelatin mixture and vanilla extract. Stir to combine, ensuring that the gelatin is totally dissolved, about 1 minute.
- Pour blancmange mixture into prepared molds. Refrigerate until set and firm.
- To serve, unmold onto serving plate. (See Tip 3)
Chula's Expert Tips
- I used whole milk. You could also use low fat milk.
- You can pour blancmange mixture into a 2 1/2-cup mold that has been lightly oiled, or individual ramekins or molds. If you want to unmold the blancmange from the ramekins, lightly oil them before adding the mixture.
- Top untold the blancmange, heat the container in hot water about 1/4-inch from the rim for 5 seconds to loosen it.