“ Type: Puddings „
These Blancmange's taste wonderful and can take you back to your childhood, BUT did you know that the Strawberry and Raspberry one's contain CARMINE also known as COCHEAL. This is made from crushed female beetles, but I would not write this review just because of that. I used to make this Blancmange two or three times a week with sponge and fruit, lovely! About two years ago I started to experience some strange health episodes, hives on my skin, strange vision disturbances , shortness of breath, anxiety I could never work out the cause, but it only ever happened after lunch. Then one nice summer afternoon after lunch I went shopping in my car and then out of the blue I had triple vision and visual disturbance, then my breathing started to struggle and panic set in big time. I thought this could be it, but I used my tremendous will power to get back home and drank lots of cold water and kept walking around the garden for over an hour before slowly recovering. Next day I felt fine, I spent the next week trying to discover what this was all about, did I have a Brain Tumor? or Food Allergy what had I eaten on that day,
Blancmange for desert looked for e numbers? looked on the packet CARMINE Google carmine or Chocheal = ANALYTIC SHOCK REACTION CAN CAUSE DEATH. Wow how lucky I was. IF YOU ARE NOT ALLERGIC TO CARMINE this will not affect you at all, but if you are, be very careful. Now I don't buy these any more, I have never had a hint of any symptoms since. So Pearce Duff and Supermarkets why not replace the CARMINE with a safer colorant, slightly more expensive but better for some of your customers health.
One of my favourite puddings of all time is trifle. I have tried for a long time to create the perfect trifle. I have to say I know make a trifle worth its oohhs and aahhhs form whoever has the pleasure of a bowl full. But the one thing that I can not do without when creating my culinary delight is Pearce Duffs blancmange.
The cardboard packaging carrying the blancmange sachets, has a retro feel to it. Using print and illistrations that would not have looked out of place on a 40's packet.
The side of the packaging provides the consumer with a comprehensive list of ingredients. There is also a nutritional information chart. However a thorough search of the box did not find any allergy information.
The reverse side of the box gives a very simple method in which to make your blancmange.
Inside the box there are four different blancmange flavours. These include strawberry, Raspberry, chocolate and vanilla. Thse are contained within small white bags with black print displaying the flavour.
If you are making a pudding I would suggest that you use either a strawberry of raspberry blancmange as these flavours are strong enough to be distinguished from the custard.
These blancmanges are basically flavoured milk jellies which are creamy and totally delicious. They do not have to be added to other puddings they are certainly delicious enough to be enjoyed alone.
Th flavours within thse blancmanges are very good. They are smoothe and not too overpowering. The mixture provides the base for a deliciously creamy and colourful blancmange.
In order to make the blangmange you will need a pint of milk and 2-3 tablespoons of sugar. Allow your self atleast 10 minutes preperation time and allow the blancmange to cool and sit for a couple of hours in the fridge.
This box of four blancmanges cost approx 80p from supermarkets. They are easy to find in most suprmarkets as they are usually stored by the baking products.
I recently saw a box of Pearce Duff's Blancmange on the jelly/ custard and packet mix aisle in Morrisons and decided to buy a box to see if I still liked it, having not had a bowl of blancmange for about 10 years.
*What You Get*
One box which contains four sachets (Vanilla, Strawberry, Chocolate and raspberry) of blancmange powder mix cost 52p. A total bargain I thought. When getting it home, I had a few issues opening the box as it said "open at back" meaning you pop out a section (a keepsake card instruction of how to make the product) but I figured doing this would leave the pack open so the other sachets could fall out of the back of the box, so I just tore the top open which messed up the box, but atleast I could then keep the box in the kitchen cupboard.
After getting over the tribulations of opening the pack, I must admit I had to read the instructions about 25 times whilst making my first batch.
*Making the Blancmange*
It is really simple to make, but I kept doubting what I was doing so the first attempt took about 15 minutes.
To make the blancmange you:
Empty the powder into a jug, add a few teaspoons of sugar and a few tablespoons of cold milk and mix into a paste. Pour the rest of one pint of milk into a saucepan and heat up the milk. When the milk in the pan starts to get warm, you tip a little of the warm milk into the blancmange paste in the jug, then you add a little more milk as the milk gets hotter. Then you add the rest of the milk into the blancmange paste in the jug and stir it all then transfer the whole thing back into the saucepan.
Then it could all go wrong- so you have to stir the liquid in the pan constantly whilst you are bringing it to the boil. I mean constantly- your arms will hurt if you aren't used to this. Do not let it boil, but reduce the heat to a simmer when it starts to boil. Nothing will happen for about three minutes then all of a sudden, the mixture will thicken up magically- then you know it is done. You have to then pour it into your bowls and leave it to cool.
Stir constantly with a whisk when the mixture is in the pan this will stop lumps forming and will stop the mixture burning.
Sprinkle sugar on the top of the desert when you pour it into the bowls to stop a skin forming.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes custard. Blancmange is bascally less sweet and less vanilla than custard. It is essentially just milk and cornflour. It has the texture of set custard. You eat it cold when it has set. Some people might find it bland, but I like it.
Nutritionally, it depends on what type of milk you use and how much sugar you add when making this. If you use skimmed milk, then it is practially just cornflour and milk so it is nutritionally not much different to a bowl of milk. If you add a lot of sugar, then it is not so good for you etc.,
One sachet will make three normal round tupperware bowls of dessert- I like taking one to work for a mid morning snack. The range of flavours provides a good variation- my personal favourites are the vanilla and chocolate varieties.
I would recommend buying a box of this product to anyone to have in the cupboard- it is a great retro snack (very 1960s housewife!), something different, not at all fattening or bad for you if you use skimmed milk and just something to make a change from custard or semolina like puddings. For the price, you can't really go wrong.
COST: 45p in Sainsburys for 146g (4 assorted flavour sachets)
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATON (per serving, made up with full fat milk and 45g of sugar per pint of milk used):
STRAWBERRY, RASPBERRY & VANILLA FLAVOURS:
INGREDIENTS (covering all flavours):
Cornflour, fat reduced alkalised cocoa powder, flavouring, colour, beta carotene, carmine, annato
THERE IS NO DIETARY/ALLERGY ADVICE ON THE PACK
Pearce & Duff's Blancmange has been around for as long as I can remember, and I'm sure it pre-dates me by at least the amount of years I've been alive (and I'm not young!).
The packet is mostly different shades of blue, with images of the four flavoured blancmanges on the front. The rear and sides of the pack contain nutritional information, ingredients list, Pearce & Duff's quality claim together with their contact details, and preparation instructions. Each packet contains four sachets, one of each flavour (chocolate, strawberry, raspberry and vanilla).
Blancmange powder is simply cornflour, containing vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and raspberry flavouring. It is mixed with milk and sugar, and boiled - stirring all the time until it thickens - then transferred to a mould or dish, left to cool, then refrigerated.
Blancmange was very much of a childhood thing for me. We'd eat it either in our own home or when going to my aunt's house for tea, usually with jelly, tinned fruit and evaporated milk. In our family, blancmange was thought of as a semi treat, and back in those days when milk products were shovelled down children's throats to make them "big and strong", it was a fairly common item on the dessert menu. Also, I can remember attending quite a few children's parties where this treat was served similarly to how we had it at home. Not all children liked blancmange though, as some had an aversion to milky things......but, I loved it.
Not having had blancmange for many, many years, I suddenly found myself a few weeks ago thinking about it and thus fancying a trip down memory lane, so I bought a pack.
If my memory serves me correctly, the preparation instructions are slightly different to how they used to be. I'm sure I can remember my mum (and my aunt too, plus mothers of my schoolfriends) mixing the blancmange powder with sugar and a little milk in a bowl, then stirring in hot boiled milk until the whole thing thickened. It would then be put in a cool place to set and chill - we didn't have a fridge, so in our house, the bowl would be immersed in a few inches of cold water to help it set more quickly. I can always remember my aunt used to make her blancmanges in bunny rabbit shaped moulds, and my favourite flavour in those days was strawberry.
I have now finished the packet I bought - it took me ages, as blancmange isn't something I can eat every day - and I am reasonably pleased with the outcome.
I made three of the blancmanges up according to the instructions on the pack (which involves mixing with milk & sugar and boiling in a saucepan before pouring into a bowl or serving dish), then left to cool completely before refrigerating. They are exquisitely simple to make, but the saucepan gets very messy and is difficult to wash up afterwards, so with the last blancmange, I tried making it how I'd seen my mum do it way back in the mists of antiquity - and, it didn't work! I had to tip the contents of the bowl I was mixing it up in, into a saucepan and continue according to the instructions on the packet. I don't know if mine and other 1950s mothers knew a secret that I don't regarding blancmange preparation, or whether Pearce & Duff's have changed the ingredients.
Each blancmange set nicely, and was of a thick, smooth and creamy consistency, with no lumps. There wasn't too much stirring involved either, but I observed that it's probably better to heat the milk, sugar and blancmange powder mixture on a medium, rather than a high heat, to prevent the bottom of the mixture going brown and burning. It is essential to smooth all the lumps out of the blancmange powder when mixing with the milk before starting to heat, to ensure the finished product is lump-free.
I very briefly describe below what each of the flavours was like for me:
STRAWBERRY - On opening the sachet, the strawberry smell is good. When made up, it turns a rather sickly pink colour which isn't true of real strawberries. The taste is definitely synthetic and is of strawberry flavouring rather than actual strawberries, but it's very pleasant and refreshing.
RASPBERRY - This has a reasonably good, even if a somewhat synthetic raspberry smell. The made up product is a duller pink than the strawberry, and similarly doesn't resemble real raspberries. The flavour though is a lot more authentic to real raspberries than the strawberry is to real strawberries. I think these days, this is now my favourite flavour.
VANILLA - Once the sachet is opened, there is a quite powerful aroma of vanilla, and it smells just like custard powder. The prepared product is a dull, off-white colour, but I'm not overly impressed with the taste. The vanilla flavouring is too synthetic, and I'd much rather have custard instead.
CHOCOLATE - There is little or no chocolate smell on opening the packet, but the powder is a dark chocolate brown colour. When made up, it actually bears a strong resemblance to melted chocolate. Though as a child this was my 2nd favourite flavour to strawberry, it has now slipped into 3rd place (with strawberry in 2nd place and vanilla in 4th). The chocolate flavour is quite good, but I found it very sickly, and it doesn't hit my own personal chocolate spot.
I ate these blancmanges on their own over a period of weeks with no accompaniment, so as to get a true flavour of the product for the purposes of this review. In future, I feel as though I'd like some fresh or tinned fruit to go with any blancmange I may eat, or alternatively, I feel with my adult palate, that I'd prefer Pearce & Duff's Blancmange made into a trifle.
All the same though, this is a product which is low in fat and calories, even if you do use a fair amount of sugar and full-fat milk. Of course, you can reduce the calories by using a little less sugar and reduce the fat content by using semi or completely skimmed milk (incidentally, this review is based on me having made the blancmanges with virtually fat-free milk, as that's what I use all the time anyway).
I would eat Pearce & Duff's Blancmange again, but I think I'd prefer them to be sold in packets containing single flavours rather than mixed, as I'd only like to buy the strawberry and raspberry varieties - I'm not keen on the chocolate and vanilla at all. The product is very cheap, and you can make enough to give a family of four a good dessert, four times over, at a cost of only 45p for the whole lot, minus the cost of the milk and sugar. A good product, but my tastes have definitely moved a little distance away from the halcyon blancmange treat of my childhood.
Thanks for reading!
I can't be the only child who grew up with good old blancmange as a "treat" pudding. It's been years since I had any, and I was thrilled to find out they still sold the mixes. I was even more thrilled by the price - 40p for four mixes (strawberry, raspberry, chocolate and vanilla).
Blancmange is basically a milk jelly. It's fairly easy to make and only needs a pint of milk and some sugar. You just dump a packet in a bowl with a bit of milk and two or three spoons of sugar, stir it up, then add it to the rest of the milk in a pan and stir until it thickens. It does burn if you aren't careful so watch it! Burnt blancmange is a nightmare to get out of a pan.
If you have no moulds you can just use a bowl, but if you can get them blancmange does look great coming out of a mould because it holds its shape so well (I use a cat and mouse mould. Yes, I am indeed an adult).
Flavour is fairly delicate - don't expect a terribly strong flavour. I could definitely taste it with the chocolate, but the strawberry was a lot weaker.
They calculate one serving as being 1/4 of a made-up mix, and apparently 1 serving is 5g of fat. No idea if that's good or not, but on the good side there's absolutely NO salt in there!
It's a great tasty and fun way to use up the last of the milk before it goes off, and really four mixes for forty pence is hard to beat.