Sweet and Lo

A cool dessert that won't weigh you down

When a fire ravaged New York's beloved Annisa last year, diners were bereft. But chef Anita Lo used the months it took to rebuild the restaurant to rethink her menu as well, bringing it up-to-date while drawing on inspiration from her past. Her blancmange–a creamy, panna cotta-like pudding scented with almond extract–is a riff on a Chinese recipe she grew up making with her mom in Michigan. Chef Lo's new take on the dessert is light, elegant and refreshing–an ideal end for a springtime dinner party.

Recipe adapted from Anita Lo, Annisa, New York

Blancmange With Grapefruit, Jicama And Elderflower
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Blancmange recipe from Anita Lo of New York's Annisa restaurant
Servings
8
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
  • 1½ cups plus 1½ tablespoons cold water
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • Salt
  • ½ tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup diced fennel, plus fennel fronds for garnish
  • 4 pink grapefruits, cut into sections
  • ¼ cup St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 1 cup jicama, peeled and diced
  •  
Optional Ingredients
  • Toasted slivered almonds, for garnish (optional)
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1½ tablespoons of water and stir to combine. (The gelatin will seize up and become a translucent mass.) Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes, until the gelatin is fully bloomed.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the milk, cream, 1 cup water, ½ cup sugar, salt, almond extract and brandy to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and whisk in the bloomed gelatin until it melts completely into the milk mixture. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and divide into eight 4-ounce molds. Refrigerate until set, 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Place the grapefruit sections in a bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining ½ cup water and the remaining cup of sugar to a boil, stirring until the water has completely dissolved. Add the lemon juice, a pinch of salt and the fennel and simmer until the fennel is translucent, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool, then strain the liquid into a bowl, reserving the fennel. Stir in the St-Germain, pour the liquid over the grapefruit sections and refrigerate.
  4. To serve, unmold the puddings in the center of 8 shallow bowls and surround each with grapefruit sections and a drizzle of the syrup. Sprinkle the jicama and fennel around the puddings, top with fennel fronds and toasted almond slivers, if using, and serve.
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