Chocolate Blancmange

serves 4

IngredientsA scrumptious blancmange

Directions

  1. Mix the cornflour to a smooth paste in a bowl with about 6 tablespoons of the milk.
  2. Heat the remaining milk with the chocolate in a saucepan until the chocolate has completely dissolved.
  3. Pour over the cornflour mixture, whisking constantly.
  4. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for three minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the sugar, vanilla and butter. Combine well.
  7. Pour into a 600ml dampened mould and chill until cold and firm.
  8. To serve, turn out onto a serving dish. Serve with fresh or stewed fruit, if desired.

Origins

The historical blancmange originated some time in the Middle Ages and usually consisted of capon or chicken, milk or almond milk, rice and sugar and was considered to be an ideal food for the sick.

The true origin of the blancmange is obscure, but it is believed that it was a result of the Arab introduction of rice and almonds in early medieval Europe. However, there is no evidence of the existence of any similar Arab dishes from that period; though the Arabic mahallabĨyah is similar, its origins are uncertain. Several other names for related or similar dishes existed in Europe, such as the 13th century Danish hwit moos ("white mush"), the Anglo-Norman blanc desirree ("white Syrian dish") and Dutch calijs (from Latin colare, "to strain").

The oldest recipe found so far is from a copy of a Danish translation of German original by Henrik Harpestræng (died 1244), which dates back to the early 13th century at the latest. The German original is in turn assumed to have been based on a Latin or Romance vernacular manuscript from the 12th century or even earlier.