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Blancmange: Cornstarch Puddings

Cornstarch is the thickener here instead of eggs. The amount of cornstarch determines the firmness of the blancmange: 2 tablespoons yields a very soft pudding, whereas 3 tablespoons yields a rather firm one. There are quite few variations you can play with this pudding:

  • For a richer pudding, use evaporated milk or half-and-half instead of whole milk.
  • Spicy flavor: Add a pinch of saffron, 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom and 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder with the cornstarch and sugar.
  • Maple: Omit the sugar and use 1/4 cup maple sugar. If you don’t have maple sugar, use 1/4 cup pure maple syrup and use only 1 3/4 cups milk.
  • Black Sesame: I usually obtain black sesame paste (kuro goma) from a Japanese grocery store. Fill the ramekins per the recipe, but reserve about 1/2 cup of the hot blancmange. To this add 2 to 3 tablespoons black sesame paste; beat well with a whisk. Dollop the black sesame on top of the vanilla blancmange, then chill.


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar; or, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Slowly heat milk in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the cornstarch, sugar and vanilla sugar to the pan. Whisk until well blended.
  3. Continue to stir with the whisk. After the mixture starts to thicken, stir for an additional 15 to 20 minutes in order to cook away the raw starchy taste.
  4. Pour into ramekins or custard bowls; this recipe is 4 servings. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

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