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Blancmange

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Blancmange

The Blancmange is a a sweet dessert that has appeared some time in the Middle Ages. Originally it consisted of capon or chicken, milk or almond milk, rice and sugar. It was considered an ideal food for the sick at the time. A Turkish dish called Tavuk göğsü made with shredded chicken, as was the medieval European dish, is still in use nowadays. The modern dish is made with milk or cream and sugar thickened with gelatin, cornstarch or Irish moss and it is often flavored with almonds. Traditionally it is white, sometimes is given a pink color.

The true origin of the blancmange remains unknown, but it is believed that it was a result of the Arab introduction of rice and almonds to medieval Europe. There is no evidence of the existence of any similar Arab dishes from that time. Although the Arabic mahallabīyah is similar, it has uncertain origins. Several other names for related or similar dishes existed in Europe such as the 13th century Danish hwit moos ("white mush"), the Anglo-Norman blanc desirree ("white Syrian dish") and Dutch calijs (from Latin colare, "to strain"). The oldest recipe found is from a copy of a Danish translation of a German original by Henrik Harpestræng (died 1244), which dates back to the early 13th century at the latest. The German original is assumed to have been based on a Latin or Romance vernacular manuscript from the 12th century or even earlier.

The "white dish" (from the original Old French term blanc mangier) was an upper-class dish common to most of Europe during the Middle Ages and early modern period. It may be found in countless variations from recipe collections from all over Europe. The basic ingredients were milk or almond milk, sugar and shredded chicken (usually capon) or fish, and often combined with rosewater, rice flour, and mixed into a bland stew. Almond milk and fish were used as substitutes for the other animal products on fast days and Lent. It was also often flavored with spices like saffron or cinnamon and the chicken could be exchanged for various types of fowl, like quail or partridge. Spices were often used in recipes of the later Middle Ages since they were considered highly prestigious.

In the 17th century, the whitedish evolved into a meatless dessert pudding with cream and eggs and, later, gelatin. In the 19th century, arrowroot and cornflour were added and the dish evolved into the modern blancmange. Nowadays this dish may be found worldwide in different variations.

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References

Blancmange, en.wikipedia.org

Blancmange - Dessert, dessert.net.au

Blancmange, food.com