Coconut Blancmange
What's for Pudding

This recipe comes from my book:
What's for Pudding

If you would like more recipes like it, you can buy the book at the bookshop

  • Switch to Metric
  • Switch to Imperial


  • 85 g desiccated coconut
  • 250 ml boiling water
  • 750 ml milk
  • 100 g sugar
  • 65 g cornflour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp coconut essence
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp cornflour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp coconut essence

Coconut Blancmange

In the 1999 Oxford Companion to Food Charles Perry defines Blancmange as 'an Anglicization of the French blanc manger (white food), now means a sweet, jellied dessert made from milk and cornflour, to which flavour and colour are often added. The addition of colour to something whose name indicates that it is white is not and never has been perceived as a problem or a paradox in Britain.' Nor in New Zealand. I have had friends shudder at the memory of pale pink strawberry blancmange made with strawberry essence and served at children's parties - a recipe deservedly fallen from favour. This is my favourite version of blancmange - and it is absolutely white. It comes from a 1973 book Latin American Cooking by Susan Bensusan where it is called, in Portuguese, Manjar Branco.

Getting ready

  1. Pour the boiling water onto the coconut and leave to soak for about 15 minutes.
  2. Strain the liquid and allow it to cool. Or use 1 cup of tinned coconut cream.

Making the Coconut Blancmange

  1. Heat the milk and sugar in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolved.
  2. Mix the cooled coconut liquid and the cornflour with a whisk until smooth, and pour on about ½ cup of the hot milk.
  3. Return the mixture to the pan, add the salt, and cook over a low heat unrilo thickened (about 5 minutes).
  4. Mix in the coconut flavouring and pour into a 4 cup/1 litre wetted mould.
  5. Refrigerate for about 4 hours until set. Unmould and serve with pitted prunes cooked in a port wine syrup - or any cooked dark fruit. Enough for 4-6 people.