I am currently having fun experimenting with blancmange. Researching its history, creating new recipe combinations and trying-out different moulds. I thought you might be interested to see one of my latest successes using a newly acquired (second-hand!) copper mould. I say success, because for each blancmange ‘ta dah’ moment, a number of failures have gone before.
This time was no exception. The set weight of my blancmange meant that I had to add a lot of extra cornflour to the mixture in order to help stabilise the final structure. Previous attempts with a lesser amount of cornflour had resulted in the blancmange splitting within minutes of being released from its mould. For the purposes of this experiment I wanted the blancmange to retain its infamous wobble but still remain intact for several hours.
Each mould requires a different technique from the cook. For example, a copper mould retains heat longer than an earthenware one thus requiring extra cooling time before being placed in the refrigerator to set. Also remember that modern silicon and plastic moulds don’t require quite such a lengthy refrigeration time.
Size of your mould has a bearing on the recipe quantities too. The mould featured here specifies ‘1 1/2 pints’ of liquid. However, it took nearly two pints of liquid, extra cornflour and a total of seven hours to set. The bigger the blancmange the more setting agent you will need to add to achieve a firm set.
Don’t forget to adjust your flavour combinations too. If you are making cornflour based blancmange, as I always do, then adding extra cornflour without adjusting the quantities of your other flavourings could mean that the blancmange will have a chalky aftertaste to it.
Remember to lightly oil your moulds before you start making the blancmange mixture. Vintage moulds often have intricate patterns inside, all the nooks and crannies must be properly lubricated. Don’t over grease, if in doubt blot with kitchen paper to remove any excess oil.
I cannot be sure of the exact date of this copper mould but I have found similar ones on several antique auction websites. All of which have been dated mid to late Victorian. There are no company marks on the mould, only a numerical reference, ‘F335A – 1 1/2 pint’.
I will leave you with one other fun fact that I have discovered about blancmange. It has featured in an iconic British TV series. In 1969, blancmange linked together a series of four Monty Python sketches (season 1, episode 7 – You’re No Fun Anymore). The final sketch in the series, ‘blancmanges playing tennis’, is hysterical. Thank goodness for You Tube because here is the episode in question. Viva blancmange I say! CLICK HERE.
- For a superb selection of historic blancmange recipes then try www.vintagerecipes.net. There are so many different types of blancmange recipe included on the site, sourced from nineteenth and early twentieth century cookbooks. For the blancmange recipes. CLICK HERE.;
- Or for a more up-to-date blancmange recipe, try Delia Smith’s ‘Chocolate Blancmange with Cappuccino Sauce’. CLICK HERE;
- Listen to New Zealand’s Aunt Daisy talking about how to make Brown & Polson’s cornflour blancmange on the ZB morning show. Aunt Daisy (real name Maud Ruby Basham MBE) was born London, 1879 and emigrated to New Plymouth, New Zealand in 1891. She was a well-known radio personality on New Zealand radio between 1930 and 1963. She died in 1963. To hear the broadcast CLICK HERE.