History buff Emma loves everything vintage - especially when it comes to cooking. She’s now on a one-woman mission to bring back blancmange.
Emma's obsession with the wobbly stuff started when her husband, Joe, was suffering with teeth problems and could only eat soft foods. She had been reading her copy of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, a treasured tome once owned by her great-great-grandmother, and was inspired to try a blancmange.
Unfortunately, her husband had horrible memories of the dessert from his childhood but Emma, 39, added a light flavouring of lavender into the delicate dish and won him round.
For an added historical touch, Emma prepares her dessert in a 19th century Wedgwood mould inherited from her grandmother.
Note on rosewater: be sure to use rose water and avoid rose essence which will be too strong too
strong for this blancmange.
For the lavender sugar:
500g caster sugar
1½-3 tbsp culinary grade lavender husks
For the blancmange:
Sunflower oil, for greasing
65g cornflour, sifted
600ml whole milk
Fine zest from 1 large or 2 small unwaxed lemons
4 tbsp lavender sugar, lavender husks sifted out.
2 tsp clear honey
1 tbsp rose water
3-5 drops natural yellow food colouring (depending on depth of colour wanted)
1. First make the lavender sugar. Mix the caster sugar with the lavender husks and store in an airtight container for up to a week to allow the sugar to become infused with lavender. This quantity of lavender sugar will last a very long time and make quite a number of blancmanges.
2. Lightly oil a 1½ pint (900ml) blancmange mould and place it upturned.
3. Sift the cornflour into a bowl. Add 125ml of the milk and stir until smooth. Set aside.
4. In the saucepan add the remaining milk, lemon zest, lavender sugar (husks sifted out), honey, rose water and food colouring. Heat the mixture until it reaches boiling point, stirring continuously to
prevent it from catching.
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and quickly stir in the cornflour mixture. Place the pan back on a low heat and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes, until it thickens. If you find the mixture is beginning to catch as you stir, just remove saucepan from the heat, still continuing to stir and return to the hob after 30 seconds. Keep stirring until the mixture is thick and forms ribbons on the surface when you lift the spoon.
6. Do not be tempted to beat the mixture as this will introduce air bubbles and once you turn out your blancmange, it will have a pitted surface where the air bubbles have burst. The mixture must be
smooth and thick. This will ensure that the surface of your blancmange will be presented blemish-free!
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared mould and set aside to cool. When lukewarm, place in the fridge for four to five hours until firm.
8. To turn out the blancmange, place the mould in a bowl of hot water for 20-30 seconds, taking care
not to get the contents wet.
9. Remove from the water, dry the outside of the mould, then place a plate on top. Quickly flip over, holding the plate and mould firmly together. Gravity should take over and the blancmange will slide out of the mould.
10. Once the blancmange is free from the mould (it should make a suction noise), carefully remove the mould.