Blancmange

For a delicious contrast, serve these puddings alongside chewy strips of candied lemon peel, available at gourmet shops and specialty candy stores.

Photography: Jim Franco

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Winter 2001

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole blanched almonds (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 6 cups half-and-half, plus more if needed
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • 6 cups heavy cream
  • Ginger Cookies
  • Candied Lemon Peel, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. In a food processor, pulse almonds until coarsely ground, about 1 minute. Gradually add 1 cup half-and-half; process until a smooth paste forms, scraping down sides halfway through.

  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, remaining 5 cups half-and-half, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, and remove from heat; add the almond extract, and gradually whisk in reserved almond paste. Let cool completely. Transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate overnight.

  3. Line a fine-mesh sieve with two layers of cheesecloth dampened with water; place over an 8-cup glass measuring cup. Pour chilled almond milk through sieve; using a ladle, firmly press milk through cheesecloth to yield 6 cups. If the yield is less than 6 cups, add more half-and-half.

  4. Prepare a large ice-water bath; set aside. Transfer 1 cup cold almond milk to a small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over top, and let soften, about 5 minutes. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring remaining almond milk to a boil; reduce heat, stir in gelatin mixture, and stir until gelatin is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Set pan in ice-water bath; stir mixture occasionally until cool, about 15 minutes.

  5. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk, beat cream until soft peaks form. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped cream into the almond milk; fold in remaining whipped cream. Pour about 1/2 cup into each of 36 blancmange molds; gently tap molds on a hard surface to release any trapped air. Wipe rims with a clean towel; let cool completely. Refrigerate overnight.

  6. To unmold blancmanges, dip each mold in hot tap water, 3 to 4 seconds. Invert mold, and tap it firmly on a work surface. Remove, and place each blancmange on a ginger cookie.

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