Blancmange is a French pudding or dessert which had originated during the middle ages. The Blancmange is also known as ‘Shape’, due to its typical shape which is made out of moulds. The food received its name from the French word – ‘blanc’ which means “white” and ‘manger’ which means “eating” or “food.” It was known as ‘white dish’ among the English Upper class. The traditional Blancmange has a very mild flavor of fruit syrup, sauces or fresh fruits. It is believed that the origin of the Blancmange recipe has been related to the Arab world, due to the rich use of almond in the dessert.  The dessert is commonly prepared with milk or cream, sugar thickened with gelatin, cornstarch or Irish moss, and almond flavored.


History of Blancmange

The origin of Blancmange is not certain, the dish is claimed to have originated as a result of introducing almonds and rice in pre- medieval Europe through Arab trading. One of the oldest recipes found for the Blancmange is in German. Several variations have been found for this recipe, including recipes from the 15th century. The traditional recipe included ingredients like almond milk or milk,  shredded chicken or fish, and sugar. This was mixed with rice flour, rosewater, and made into a stew. Almond milk and fish replaced other animal products during the fasting days and Lent. Spices like saffron and cinnamon were used as flavorings.  The use of Chicken in the old recipe was substituted by different types of fowls, quail or partridge.


During the festive occasions, the white dishes were given different colors including reddish golden yellow, green, and russet. By the 14th century France parti-coloring method was used and the use of two bright contrasting colors was exhibited on the same plate. By 17th century, the white dish became a dessert puddingwithout meat with cream and eggs. Later, gelatin was also added to the dish. By 19th century, the Blancmange recipe started using arrowroot and corn flour.


Ingredients used and popular method of preparing Blancmange

The typical English Blancmange includes – milk, corn starch, sugar, cinnamon strips, ground cinnamon, lemon peel, and vanilla extract. The milk is boiled along with lemon peel and the cinnamon sticks. Cornstarch and sugar is whisked in another bowl with extra milk. Once the milk boils, mix the cornstarch mixture into it. Later the cinnamon sticks and the lemon peel are removed and the milk is poured into a mould to make the dessert. Once prepared it can be refrigerated and served cold.


Variations to Blancmange

There are several variations to this dish since the 13th century.  In Europe, a number of variations like the Danish Hwit Moos or "white mush", the Anglo-Norman Blanc desire or the "white Syrian dish", and Dutch Calijs can be found.  


Nutrition facts of Blancmange

  • The typical Blancmange recipe consists of nearly 393 calories including 45% fat, 14% protein, and 12% carbohydrate.