French Frdays with Dorie

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blanc Manger

I seem to be incapable of two things - well far more than two but for now we'll discuss the two that are relevant to this recipe.

(1)My absolute inability to completely incorporate two disparate elements - in this case, the gelatin and the whipped cream mixture.

(2)My utter failure at leveling anything - as a child I demonstrated this by cutting my own hair. I cleverly hid the shorn locks in my toy chest. Sure that no one would notice the few missing golden tresses. Unfortunately, when you cut off all the hair on your head except for the piece in the middle (in the barrette) your mother does notice. And, when she is a red-headed Irish woman, she might not have the temperament for this upset. As time moves on and your wispy scalp begins to regain some fuzz, the virago might settle down, but alas, every time you pull out a toy, out comes another lock of hair which sets off another bout of anger from the red-head. Not the most scathingly brilliant scheme of my childhood schemes - but one that makes me grateful for my position as last child - of course you know that means there are no photos of me! Especially none as a baldino. But, I digress . . . how does that keep happening to me?
I made the Blanc Manger a few weeks ago when my sister came to visit. We agreed that it was far sweeter in taste than we expected it to be. It also went down into our tummies far easier than we expected! So I quickly trucked the remainder into work so that my fellow employees could wolf it down for me. Otherwise we would have eaten the whole thing and trust me - my natural beauty would have had a hard time compensating for my natural fatness!

I swan, this incorporation business is really starting to frustrate me. A few weeks ago we made that cake that required us to gently fold the flour into the stiffly beaten egg whites. And what did I find when I went to transfer the batter into the cake pan prior to baking? Lump upon lump of unincorporated flour - then what happened? Total baking failure that is what.

Thankfully this lack of incorporation was on a much smaller scale and the results were far less of a calamity. When I unmolded the manger I saw some rather strange grayish streaks running across the top of it. I immediately realized that I had failed to incorporate all of the gelatin. After delivering several sharp remarks to the manger which it took quite bravely, I remedied the situation by thickly applying my coulis.

Oh, my God! My coulis - was so fantastic - you are all so jealous of me - my berries were like berries on flavor steroids (but they aren't they are just the best tasting berries on the planet!) - because I get my berries from Agriberry Farms in Studley, Virginia. They are so darn good. I used a blend of red and black raspberries. I used to dislike raspberries but now I am a total convert. I still hate the darn seeds, but that Agriberry sure knows how to grow a raspberry. The flavor of my coulis was so intense I felt a shock down to my toes when I tasted it. Fantastic - and you could neither see nor feel the grayish streaks any longer. Of course, since I can strain something I also had zero seeds - Perfection - okay - not perfection - but darn good. - a CSA that still has openings for this year if you are lucky enough to live in the central Virginia area. I am so glad I joined. Every week I get six units of berries or other fruits - the fruit is so fresh it hurts my eyes.
Last week I got two units of blackberries, that were almost as big as two of my thumbs stuck together - (my hands are quite small) - as big as a large man's thumb; two units of blueberries and mixed stone fruits - nectarines and peaches. I think that was last week's selection. There was probably a red raspberry in that mix also because that list seems a package short.

Earlier in the summer we had purple raspberries - if you have never had these and you see them at a market BUY THEM. They are a cross between the red and the black raspberry and they are wonderful. Not exactly sweet and not quite tart, they are almost seedless and they are so smooth and delicate. Larger than either of their parental units, they are the most delightful shade of dark mauve. Sadly their season is now over.

Back to my manger, apparently if I am to ever have any hope of leveling a dessert of this sort, I shall have to mold it in a clear pan. I thought the manger was level until I flipped it from the mold. Then of course it looked like I created it on a slope. Aargh! I screamed (mentally) because I did not want my sister to take me to the mental hospital (no Not again). But, now I have decided that this shall not happen to me again. I can avoid this by careful planning and constant measuring. In the future, nothing gets the final nod of approval until I have measured it six ways to Sunday. I am sick of these desserts claiming they are ready to go only to show up uneven when they are unveiled. I will measure the pans top to bottom and side to side. I will have obedience from my food groups. Oh, my gosh, I feel so much better now that I have a plan. My evil food has been thwarted again! Take that you uneven dishes!
This week's recipe was selected by Susan. She has posted the recipe and far better photos at Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewey go there and check them out if you don't believe me.

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