Blanc Mange and Milk Pudding

From the New York Times Sunday Magazine

We were arrested by this week's Amanda Hesser column in the Times Sunday Magazine; blanc mange, the milk pudding of the form-obsessed Victorians, was the topic. We had always wondered what exactly blanc mange was...

We remember references to blancmange, a food for invalids and sick sisters, in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. We were fascinated by this strange-sounding dish then, with no reference for what it could be. All we knew was that it went along with thin broth and weak tea.

Hesser enlightens with her testing of several old recipes for this milk pudding, progressing from the molded recipes thick with gelatin to the predecessors of today's looser and more rustic panna cotta.

We love milk puddings and custards of all sorts, and especially panna cotta. We're going to try one of these delicate milk puddings from Hesser's article, and it occurred to us that the recipe here with its accompanying wine syrup is very similar to the one we posted yesterday.

A light milk pudding, with wine-poached pears and a rich, spicy wine syrup sounds like a very good idea in late winter.

Poached Pears and Red Wine Syrup

Top Image: Tom Schierlitz for The New York Times