White Chocolate and Black Sesame Blancmange

Dessert Week hit the Bake Off tent with meringue roulades rolling around the tent, the blancmange technical giving each baker a bit of a wobble and showstopping melting chocolate ball desserts. I took inspiration from the technical challenge for my Bake Off inspired recipes this week.

Blancmange is a very retro and kitsch dessert to me, not helped by the bright and vivid pink colour of Prue’s raspberry blancmange they made on the show! I decided to do a 3-layer blancmange to make it more visually exciting and even more kitschy. I knew that a good colour contrast would be an ombré effect from white to dark grey which I could achieve by making a White Chocolate and Black Sesame Blancmange.

The smoky and bitter flavour of black sesame pairs well with the creaminess of the blancmange. I love black sesame and I’ve used it in so many recipes on my blog such as my No Churn Black Sesame Ice Cream, my Strawberry and Black Sesame Cookies and my Dark Chocolate and Black Sesame Biscuits. My recipe calls for black sesame powder which can be found easily online or you can make your own by blitzing toasted black sesame seeds to a fine powder.

Prue’s recipe calls for the use of both cornflour and gelatine however most normal blancmanges use just cornflour. My recipe uses both cornflour and gelatine which means the texture is more pannacotta-esque than a blancmange but is much less rich than a normal pannacotta. So is this really a blancmange or is it a pannacotta? Or a blanccotta or a pannamange? Either way, it’s a great dessert that is easy to eat and easy to make.

The mould I use is a silicon hemisphere mould with holes 6.5cm diameter. This is the same mould that I used to make my Dark Chocolate Teacakes and is incredibly versatile, suitable for setting gelatine-based desserts without too much worry of them not coming out in one piece as well as making chocolate spheres if you want to attempt the showstopper.

3 tsp gelatine powder

60ml boiling water

40g cornflour

100g granulated sugar

1 pint/568ml whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

50g white chocolate, broken into chunks

26g black sesame powder

Black sesame seeds

In a large saucepan, mix together the cornflour with the granulated sugar. Add 100ml of milk and stir to slightly dissolve the cornflour and sugar. Add the rest of the milk slowly and the vanilla extract while stirring and place onto a medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Bring the mixture up to a boil and allow to thicken, stirring constantly to avoid the bottom burning. It will have the texture of a thick but not set custard.

Stir in the bloomed gelatine mixture until well mixed. Sieve the mixture into a large bowl to remove any lumps. Divide the mixture into one-third and two-thirds (approximately 250g each). Into the smaller batch, add the white chocolate and leave to melt – the residual heat should melt the chocolate very quickly. Into the larger batch, add 15g of black sesame powder, mix until even and then cover with clingfilm until needed.

Sprinkle a handful of black sesame seeds into the base of each hemisphere of a 6-hole 6.5cm diameter hemisphere mould. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the white chocolate blancmange into each mould, being careful not to get any on the sides which would ruin the layer effect. Give the mould a slight tap on the work surface and then refrigerate for around 20 – 30 minutes until the white chocolate layer is set and firm to the touch.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of the black sesame blancmange on top of the already set white chocolate layer. Shake the mould to level out this first layer and return to the fridge for a further 20 minutes until set.

Add the remaining 11g of the black sesame powder to the leftover blancmange and stir to combine. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the remaining blancmange into the mould or enough to reach the top. Carefully transfer to the fridge and leave to set for 6 hours or overnight.

To serve, prise the blancmanges away from the edges, pulling the silicon away from the surface to release the sides. Push the base up and invert the blancmanges onto a plate.

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