Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie: Raspberry Blanc-Manger

Sometimes, you can spend months anticipating something - waiting, praying, hoping it will come - and when it arrives, it's even better than you were expecting.

But sometimes, all of your hoping and praying is for naught - the object of your desire is a dud.



This week, I've experienced a bit of both. The former, I'll save for a little later. The latter? It's all about this week's Tuesdays With Dorie pick, Raspberry Blanc-Manger. This week's selection comes to us via Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy.

This blanc-manger is essentially a whipped cream cloud, with sugar, almond, and raspberries mixed in, which is set with gelatin.

It has been sitting there for the past year, tantalizingly, on the back cover of Baking: From My Home to Yours, just waiting for me to make it so I could enjoy its airy, fruity splendour.

But perhaps due to my own forgetfulness and finicky tastes, I didn't enjoy it.

To begin with, I absolutely detest almonds. I can't eat them unless they're coated in chocolate. This recipe calls for grinding almonds into dust, and they are a considerable component of the recipe. But I just couldn't do it. I wracked my brain for a possible substitute, but couldn't think of anything. I decided to carry on with the recipe, halved, and skipped the almond.


When the blanc-manger was assembled, I nearly poured it into ramekins. However, I had visions of a dainty wedge of blanc-manger on a plate, so I poured it into the recommended pan size for the full recipe - an 8" circular cake pan. It nearly filled the pan, and I couldn't imagine how double the recipe would have fit into it.

I refrigerated it overnight, and the next day after work, dunked the cake pan into warm water in order to loosen the blanc-manger from the mold. And then I walked away - leaving the pan (and the blanc-manger) in the warm water.

I came back half an hour to a creamy, soupy mess. I re-read the instructions - Dorie suggested putting the pan in the water for five seconds. Panicking, I stuck the blanc-manger back into the fridge. Although it did set up again, it had deflated and was about half as thick.

Although I knew my blanc-manger had already lost the beauty contest, I had high hopes for its flavour. But I found it to be rather bland and uninteresting - it tasted like eating whipped cream with raspberries in it. This could definitely be because I skipped the almonds, but either way, it seems like this recipe isn't for me. If you like almonds, though, I recommend checking out the recipe on Susan's blog.

On the bright side, my disappointment has been tempered by something major. Last fall, my oldest brother and his wife announced that they were expecting their first child. Since then I've been counting down, waiting to meet my newest family member and bond with him as I have my other niece and nephew.

Monday morning, just before 3 a.m., he arrived - a week overdue and after seemingly-endless months of anticipation. His name is Lachlan (like McLachlan, without the "Mc" - it's a Gaelic name), and based on the pictures I've seen, he is incredibly adorable.

I'll be heading home after work tomorrow to meet him, and then taking two days of vacation to hang out with the little guy. With any luck, I'll come back with permission to post a photo of him for your viewing enjoyment. After all of the waiting, I can't wait to finally meet him!

7 comments:

margot July 22, 2009 at 2:10:00 AM EDT  

Sorry your highly-anticipated blanc-manger was disappointing; your photos are still gorgeous. I included almonds and thought it was good, but kind of just a partial dessert, like I still needed cookies or something. And congrats on the new family member!

Tracey July 23, 2009 at 12:54:00 AM EDT  

Well, your pictures of the blanc manger are gorgeous! Sorry it was a flop for you after all the anticipation :( Congrats on your new nephew!

pinkstripes July 23, 2009 at 7:50:00 PM EDT  

Too bad it let you down. It looks great!

Jennifer July 25, 2009 at 1:47:00 PM EDT  

Sorry it didnt turn out as you wished but it LOOKS great!

Clivia July 28, 2009 at 7:45:00 PM EDT  

Oh no. So close to success. I feel your pain.
Mine never even set, so I made ice cream.
Where are the baby pictures?

pierre August 2, 2009 at 1:16:00 AM EDT  

Here in France, blancmanger is
250g almond powder
150g sugar
8 tablespoons cream
6 tablespoons of alcohol (kirsch)
all mixed with 1 / 2 liter whipped cream.
It decorates the cake cools with the Chantilly-shaped mountain.

Kaitlin August 2, 2009 at 10:51:00 AM EDT  

Pierre - Thanks! It's nice to see the French perspective.

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