Jo moved through the woods at her usual quick pace, inhaling the sharp December air through her thin nostrils. It had been nice to escape from the house for a few minutes, despite its cheery commotion, with Meg in the kitchen assembling her blancmange, Amy bent in theatrical poses near the fireplace practicing lines from their latest play, and Beth running around trying to wrangle the kittens to the pantry long enough to feed them. The air had been full of vanilla and cinnamon and laughter, and Jo was determined to capture and convey some of that good feeling to the boy next door when she went over later today, equipped with blancmange and who knew, maybe Beth would even lend her a kitten for the day. Laurie his name was, they had found out by asking around, and it was Jo’s newest mission to bring a smile to the wan face in the window who had watched them forlornly for weeks now.
Feeling that goal well within reach, Jo relaxed, enjoying the sensation of her boots crunching in the snow and frozen mud of the river path. She had talked too much this morning and now she revelled in her own silence, hearing nothing but the sounds of the woods, surprisingly alive and chirpy despite the wintery white cover that turned all the green corners into rounded fairy knolls.
Jo paused her rapid exertions and leaned against the curve of a willow tree, huffing a bit, her cheeks red and dry. The river was almost frozen solid but there was a crack near the edge where the sun had peeked through, glistening off the gurgling running water that still made its way underneath the ice shell. She was like that, she guessed – a gurgling, effervescent brook that never stopped moving or making noise, not in the heat of summer or under the frozen cover of winter. Beth was the lark above, artful and industrious, Amy the tufted field mouse who scampered this way and that collecting treasures for its house, and Meg the squirrel, holed up in its oak tree pounding acorns into pancakes. But a pretty squirrel, of course – Jo laughed when she thought about what her fair sisters would think about their comparisons to woodland creatures. She bent down and picked up a flat stone, skipping it exactly where the moving brook shone through, the stone hopping off the jumping surface of the water and skidding onto the ice, stopping only when it reached the far edge. Next to their little chimney with smoke rising in a playful curl Jo could see the big house, and if she imagined properly, Laurie in his window.
Jo turned and ran back through the woods, an airy woodland fawn flying through the trees.
- 4 cups raspberries, strawberries, or mixed berries
- 2 cans (or ~4 cups) of full fat coconut milk
- ⅓ c tigernut flour (this is subbing for almond flour, but not essential)
- 2 tsps vanilla
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 3 tb grassfed gelatin (sub agar agar for V)
- 2 tb tapioca flour or arrowroot starch
- ⅓ cup of honey or maple syrup (to taste, adjust as desired)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon, mace, or both (optional/to taste)
- 1 tsp almond extract (optional, omit for AIP)
- For decoration
- 1 can coconut milk, chilled (you'll use only the solid part)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tb honey or maple syrup (optional)
- pomegranate seeds (these I wouldn't omit - they provide an essential crunch/tartness, feel free to add even more than pictured)
- Pour the coconut milk into a bowl and bloom the gelatin in it for a few minutes.
- Add the rest of the blancmange ingredients (berries, flours, vanilla, salt, sweetener, spices) to the gelatin and coconut milk and blend everything together using an immersion or other blender.
- Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat up over low-medium heat until mixture starts to thicken slightly (will still be quite liquid-y).
- Pour mixture into a decorative mold and refrigerate for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight).
- Once blancmange is quite solid, loosen it from the mold by pulling carefully at the edges or dipping the outside of the mold quickly into a bowl of hot water.
- Invert the mold on a serving plate (blancmange should come out).
- Whip the solid part of the coconut milk with vanilla and honey, and decorate blancmange with coconut whipped cream and pomegranate seeds.
This post has been shared on the Paleo-AIP Roundtable.