Sunday, 23 December 2012

50s dinner - Harlequin Blancmange

"Summer days and party occasions call for a veriety of cold sweets." 

Well, we're in the dead of winter, but catching up with an old friend is a good excuse for some festive dessert.  The book has a range of jellies, trifles, creams and ice creams (none of which contain much actual cream of course), but I fancied having a go at this 'Harlequin Mould' as I'd never attempted to make a blancmange before.  It also looked pretty impressive in the picture.

1 1/2 oz. cornflour
1 pint milk
2 oz. sugar
Colourings & Flavourings

First blend the cornflour with a little milk.  Bring the rest of milk almost to the boil, then pour in the blended cornflour mixture.  At this point I ended up with with a big lump of gluey cornflour in the pan, but giving it a whisk blended it right into the milk.  Cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the sugar.  At this point I was stirring what felt like a big pan of milk, and not sure if or when it would turn into something that could set.  After another minute or two it suddenly thickened up to the consistency of custard and I took it of the heat.  At this point it had developed some more lumps, but agian giving it a whisk solved the problem.

At this point I divided the mixture into two jugs (you could do more if you're feeling extra festive) and added the colourings and flavourings.   The reciepe recommends that you co-ordinate your colours and flavours, so I matched the pink to the strawberry and the lemon with yellow.  Note, you will want to use a separate teaspoon for each colour unlesss you're pretty artistic or don't mind your pudding turning puce.  For the strawberry layer I used a teaspoonful of both the colour and flavour.  For the lemon layer I added a little more flavouring.  Not sure if I just couldn't taste the lemon as all my other senses were telling me I was eating birds-eye custard!

I poured some of the first batch into my mould.  Then I had to wait for it to set.  This was a pretty anxious time as I was worried that the rest would set in the jugs before I could get it into the mould.   So I risked defrosting the fish fingers and popped it into the freezer for a few minutes.   It still seemed fairly soft, but had formed a little skin, so poured the next layer.  I used the old bartender trick of pouring over the back of a spoon, but the first layer seemed to hold up well.  I then repeated the process with a third layer and left to set in the fridge overnight.

Getting the jelly out the mould was a nerve wracking business.  I immersed it in hot water before tuning it onto a plate.  It didn't come out first time, but another shake and, plop, it was on the plate.

The taste test
This took us back to our childhood days, sickly sweet, brightly coloured and packed with those  classic artifical fruit flavours.  Texture wise I enjoyed it - creamier and not as 'bouncy' as jelly can be.  Perhaps not one for sophisticated adult palates, and not in line with the current vouge for all things natural and organic , but lots of fun.  I know my little girl would be impressed! 

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