There is an old saying that Blancmange should be wobbly but not as rubbery as a rubber ball. I recently made a hundred-year-old recipe for Chocolate Blancmange, and using the criteria in the old saying, it was excellent. The Blancmange was rich and decadent, and trembled just a little.
Even though Blancmange is an old dessert, it was new to me; and this was the first time that I ever made this lovely molded dessert.
This recipe is a keeper. As my husband finished the Blancmange, he asked, “When are you going to make this again.?”
The old recipe was part of an advertisement for Minute Tapioca. (Yes, Minute Tapioca as been around for more than a hundred years).
Here’s the original recipe:
When I saw the illustration for the Blancmange, I realized that I actually owned some old dessert plates that once belonged to my grandmother that looked very similar to the ones in the picture. I hadn’t seen the plates in years, but I pulled a chair over to my highest kitchen cupboard, and climbed up. A few minutes later I’d found the plates. They weren’t identical to the ones in the drawing, but I had a lot of fun trying to semi-replicate the old picture.
The old recipe called this dessert “blanc mange.” I think that today, the two words are generally combined into one (blancmange), so that is the way that I’ve spelled it.
In a medium saucepan stir together the tapioca, sugar, cocoa, and salt. While stirring, slowly add the milk. Using medium heat, and while stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that there is a slow rolling boil. Cook for an additional 5 minutes while stirring constantly. Be sure to stir to the very bottom of the pan because this mixture will easily burn. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Pour into individual molds. Custard cups work well as molds. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
To serve, set the molded dessert in a pan of hot water for a few seconds; then run a table knife around the edge of the mold to loosen and turn upside down on serving plate to unmold.
If desired, serve with whipped cream.
To make homemade whipped cream, Put 1 cup whipping cream in a mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar. Whip until there are stiff peaks.
Cook’s note: I did not make the cocoa (hot chocolate) prior to making this recipe. It seemed unnecessary to use a two-step process. Instead, I found a recipe for hot chocolate on a can of cocoa. I combined the dry ingredients in that recipe with the dry ingredients called for in the hundred-year-old Blancmange recipe. I then stirred in three cups of milk. This streamlined process worked just fine.
The old ad was chock full of old tapioca recipes. A recipe for Maple Walnut Tapioca particularly intrigued me, so I decided to give it a try.
Tapioca pudding is a little tricky to make because it requires lots of stirring while cooking prevent burning, but it’s well worth the effort. This classic recipe is delightful with a hint of caramel which blends perfectly with the crunchy walnuts.
Heat milk in a saucepan using medium heat while stirring continuously until it begins to steam. Stir in the tapioca, and cook for 15 minutes while continuing to stir continuously. Midway through the cooking time, the mixture will begin to boil. When this occurs reduce heat so that there is a very slow rolling boil; continue to stir constantly. Remove from heat at the end of the 15 minutes.
Place a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of the hot mixture into a small bowl with the beaten egg yolks and salt, and quickly stir. Then add the egg mixture to the tapioca, and return to medium heat and cook for an additional 3 minutes while stirring constantly. (The egg is first combined with a little of the hot mixture to prevent it from turning into scrambled eggs when introduced into the hot combination.)
Remove from heat, and cool in the refrigerator, then stir in the maple syrup. If the maple syrup does not readily mix with the tapioca mixture, beat a few seconds until combined (I used an electric mixer); then stir in the chopped walnuts.
If desired, may be garnished with walnut halves or whipped cream.
As the seasons transition from winter to spring, the foods are ever evolving. Spinach, green onions, and eggs are wonderful quintessential Spring foods. I was thrilled to find a recipe for German Spinach in the April, 1916 issue of Good Housekeeping that calls for all three. The spinach and green onions, combined with bacon and a lovely chopped egg garnish, creates a stunning seasonal dish.
2 bunches (approximately 20) green onions (scallions)
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon fine breadcrumbs
dash of nutmeg
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
Wash spinach, then put into a large saucepan with just the water that is clinging to the leaves. Using medium heat, cook spinach until wilted while stirring occasionally.
In the meantime, chop the white and green parts of the green onions. Put the bacon in a skillet and using medium heat, cook the bacon for several minutes. Add green onions, and continue frying until the green onions are wilted. Stir in the flour, bread crumbs, and nutmeg; then add the cooked spinach.
Put into serving dish and garnish with the egg. If desired, sprinkle a little nutmeg on top.
Here’s the original recipe:
The old recipe called for adding water to the spinach and bacon mixture, then cooking until the water is “boiled up.” When I made this recipoe, I didn’t add any additional water since it didn’t seem needed. Without the added water, the dish was ready to put in a serving bowl as soon as the bacon mixture and the spinach were combined.
17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Tuesday, October 8, 1912: Don’t have anything to write.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Since Grandma didn’t have much to write a hundred years ago today, I’ll share an old recipe for stewed apples with you. There easy to make, and I make this recipe several times each fall.
Like many old recipes, it doesn’t have exact amounts for ingredients—but it always seems to turn out just fine.
Peel apples, remove cores, and cut into quarters. Place them in a saucepan with a very little water. Add sugar and cinnamon to taste. If desired, a few raisins can also be added. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Continue to simmer gently until the apples are soft (approximately 10-15 minutes). May be served either hot or cold.