You may be asking yourself, "What is a Blanc Manger". Well, dear readers, Dorie describes a Blanc Manger (pronounced blah-mahn-jay) as panna cotta's kissing cousin.
Let me give you a little history about me and Panna Cotta, shall we? We used to never get along. When presented with the option for panna cotta as a dessert when I was younger, I always thought back to the scene in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation where the family is gathering for Christmas Dinner, and Ellen's crazy Aunt and Uncle show up with a green jello mold with cat food as garnish and the camera pans the table as the family tries to make their way through dinner, crunching an all.
You know the Aunt and Uncle I'm talking about? Who gave us such hilarious lines like:
Is Rusty still in the Navy?
Clark: Since this is Aunt Bethany's 80th Christmas, I think she should say grace.
Aunt Bethany: What dear?
Aunt Bethany: Grace? Grace died 30 years ago.
Uncle Lewis: THE BLESSING!
Aunt Bethany: Oh. I pledge allegiance, to the flag...
Pure genius. It is not Christmas without that movie, in my opinion.
Now, you are probably wondering why I compare panna cotta to this dessert. Unfortunately, I do not have an answer for that. No one can argue with the logic of a once picky eater.
Now, however, I love panna cotta. The creamy, smooth refreshing texture is something I look forward to in a dessert. And its "kissing cousin", the blanc manger, did not let me down. The whole texture of the ground up almonds thing did not help my case for remembering the green jello mold with cat food as garnish, however, this was an absolutely delicious dessert that was easy to make. A little milk, a little cream, some ground up almonds, some gelatin, and voila! A very impressive dessert. I made two versions: a blueberry version (with the fruit on the inside) and a fig version with fig jam (no fruit on the inside) that was atop a graham cracker sable from Johnny Iuzzini's dessert book, Dessert Fourplay (get this book for some fantastic professional dessert ideas). I liked it better without the fruit on the inside, as I didn't want anything getting in the way of that delicious blanc manger.
On another note, today is Jack's birthday! So we'll be celebrating by polishing this off and then tonight, I'm making him duck confit with date stuffed gnocchi (which also will be my Top Chef post for tomorrow). Needless to say, I hope I don't mess it up! But I hope it will be the perfect dinner for my little Harry Potter look-a-like.
Seriously, the older Harry Potter gets (not Daniel Radcliff, but Harry Potter), the more he looks like Jack. I couldn't get over it while watching the movie this time around.