Stop in for lunch at comme Ça, David Myers' bistro on Melrose, and you'll probably order the hamburger. You and everybody else in this town. But after the burger has vanished, the tall cup of pommes frites has been emptied, the aïoli has been licked from its little cup, you really should have dessert, if only so that you can experience Myers' very classical take on blancmange. Think panna cotta, with a faint hint of almonds. A berry soup. A tiny scoop of ice cream, either in raspberry or guava, depending on the season and the whim of the pastry chef. This is a stunning dessert, simple and elegant, refined and soothing. Imagine what Escoffier would nosh on after everyone else had gone home. Best of all, the dessert is about as easy to make as it is to eat. Myers' recipe is after the jump.
Note: From chef-owner David Myers of comme Ça. Almond paste can be found at Surfas and many other groceries (it is not the same as marzipan). Myers serves the blancmange with mixed berry soup, fruit ice cream, a few fresh berries and a sprig of mint.
Makes: 6-8 individual desserts
2 1/4 sheets of gelatin
12 ounces heavy cream
3 ounces whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split
3/4 ounce of almond paste
1 1/4 ounces sugar
1. Soften the gelatin in a bowl of ice water.
2. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring 4 ounces of cream, the milk, vanilla bean and seeds and the almond paste just to a boil, whisking to make sure that the almond paste is fully dissolved. Squeeze out the softened gelatin sheets and add to the hot liquid, whisking until thoroughly dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool.
3. Whip the remaining cream with the sugar until it holds medium peaks. Fold in the whipped cream to the cooled milk mixture.
4. Pour the mixture into dessert molds or small dessert cups, cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, from 4 hours to overnight.