A blancmange is a dessert made from almond milk which has the consistency of a jelly.
It was very popular all through the 19th century, when its smooth, pale appearance was appreciated. Nowadays, however, we might consider it to be rather bland. Similarly, the flavour of almond was greatly prized, whether in powdered or syrup form. The same was true of orange flower. Vanilla was extremely expensive and rarely used.
Ingredients500g sweet almonds
4-5 bitter almonds
Leaf gelatine (30g)
Period RecipeCrush a pound of blanched almonds; add eight bitter almonds. When they are thoroughly crushed, bring twelve little pots of cream to the boil, along with six onces* of sugar, or less if the jars were small; mix the almonds with the hot cream; take a finely woven towel and strain the mixture through it, simply by wringing it. Then melt one and a half sticks of fish glue; having beaten this well, add it bit by bit to about quarter of a pint of water and leave to simmer for two hours; then strain it through an "étamine"**, and pour it with the warm utensil. Fill the small pots and put them on ice or in a cold place, if you have the time to wait; serve when they are frozen. * An "once" is an old French measure corresponding (in Paris) to 30g.** An "étamine" is a small copper or tin utensil, slightly hollow and pierced with several holes, through which liquids can be crudely strained. André Viard, Le cuisinier impérial, Paris : Barba, 1806
Bon appetit1. Mix the sweet and bitter almonds.
2. Rinse under running water until they are nice and pale.
3. Crush them as thoroughly as possible, making them into almond powder. Add as you go along 8 decilitres water (about 27 fluid ounces) to create a kind of almond syrup.
4. Put into a saucepan and melt the sugar in it.
5. Add the gelatine leaves. Let it bubble a little.
6. Turn off the heat and pour the mixture into a (Savarin) mould.