There are certain desserts that seem perpetually remote. Clafouti. Mincemeat pie. Almost any dessert that calls for rose water. Whether I’ve ordered these desserts in a restaurant or made them at home, I still don’t feel like I know them. Not really.
Show me a slice of chocolate cake, or an eclair, or an oatmeal raisin cookie and I’ll show you a dessert that wants to be loved. These desserts reveal their charms at once. Nothing is held back.
But blanc manger is a mystery to me. It’s not silky like flan. It’s not creamy like pudding. And my guess is that if you ask me in five years to describe it, you’ll get a blank look. “Oh, yeah, blanc manger. It’s… oh… it’s like…. Well, hmmmm…..”
Frankly, it’s a little like baby food: light bodied, milky, slightly sweet. Strawberries are in season here, so that’s what I used on top. Not a good choice. The base is bland and it cried out for a tart fruit like raspberries.
Dorie says this is a foolproof recipe and I had a chance to test that claim. In the final stage, you’re supposed to mix the almond mixture into the softly whipped cream, and I somehow managed to drop the entire small bowl of almond mixture into the big bowl of freshly whipped cream. Not the contents of the bowl. The bowl itself, bottom first. I plucked the small bowl out and dumped the almond mixture straight in, without stopping to think that perhaps it would have been wise to re-whip the cream just a touch. Ah well. It didn’t seem to hurt it, so I can vouch for this dessert’s “foolproof” status.