Buttermilk Blancmange

A blancmange is a sweet molded pudding usually made with milk or cream, though you’ll find a savory version with chicken from Turkey. It’s very simple and quite old; Chaucer makes a revolting joke of it in his “Prologue” to The Canterbury Tales. The thickening is usually achieved with either cornstarch or gelatin. In this version I use both because while buttermilk gives the dessert a nice acidy zing, it tends to separate with heating so just using gelatin will give you a 2-layer dessert of clear yellowish whey and a sort of grainy white cream. The corn starch stabilizes the buttermilk for an even, creamy consistency. This recipe makes four 6 oz. servings.

3 cups low-fat buttermilk
A half cup of sugar
2 pkgs. unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (check the label)

Mix gelatin and cornstarch and dissolve in 1/4 cup warm water. Add this mixture to warm buttermilk and whisk to a smooth consistency. When it just begins to thicken, add lemon zest and vanilla. Cool and refrigerate. When just firming, spoon into lightly oiled (6 oz.) molds, and refrigerate for at least three hours. Serve with a fruit puree and crushed almonds.

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