Colombian "Manjar Blanco" (center bowl)
|Alternative name(s)||Manjar de leche, manjar|
Manjar blanco (Spanish pronunciation: [maŋˈxar ˈblaŋko]), also known as manjar de leche or simply manjar, is a term used to refer to a variety of related delicacies in the Spanish-speaking world all milk-based. In Spain the term refers to blancmange, a European delicacy found in various parts of the continent as well as the United Kingdom. In the Americas (South America primarily) it refers to a sweet, white spread or pastry filling made with milk. This term is sometimes used interchangeably with dulce de leche or cajeta in Latin America but these terms generally refer to delicacies prepared differently from those just described. Related dishes exist by other names in other countries, such as tembleque in Puerto Rico. In Portuguese-speaking countries the dish is known as manjar branco.
Manjar blanco in Spain and in other parts of Europe refers to a dessert (blancmange in English), traditionally light brown in color although often colored by added ingredients, made with a mould with a consistency like gelatin (in fact modern varieties are often made with gelatin). In the Middle Ages, the dish was prepared with chicken or fish, rice, sugar, and almond milk or milk and other ingredients (the dish was probably influenced by the Arab cuisine of Muslim Spain). Today the primary ingredients in Spain tend to be milk, almonds, corn starch or gelatin, and sugar. The variants in Spain are often somewhat different from those in France or the United Kingdom.
This term is used in Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina (not to be confused with natillas which is a separate but similar dish). It refers to a set of similar dishes traditionally made by slowly and gently cooking pure (normally non-homogenized) milk to thicken and reduce the volume, and gradually adding sugar. In some regions other ingredients such as vanilla bean, citrus juices, cinnamon, and even rice may also be added. Usually a double boiler of some sort is employed so as to prevent browning of the mixture (which would give it a different flavor). The result is a white or cream-colored, thick spread with a consistency much like that of a thick cake frosting although the flavor is more like that of sweetened cream (with accents of whatever additional ingredients may have been added). The cooking process is largely the same as for creating sweetened condensed milk except that the result is normally thicker.
In Guatemala, El Salvador, and other countries in Central America manjar de leche is a pudding or custard made with milk, cornstarch (to thicken), sugar, and often other ingredients such as vanilla, cinnamon, and/or other flavorings. This white-colored confection may be eaten by itself or used as a pastry filling.
Manjar blanco is a traditional Christmas dish in Colombia, along with natilla. It is made out of ingredients like milk, rice, and sugar; which are heated for a long period of time until the right texture is achieved. Manjar blanco is usually eaten with a slice of natilla, buñuelos, and hojuelas, creating a very good combination from the salty buñuelos with the two sweet desserts. Manjar blanco can be found in stores during Christmas time, but is also found in stores throughout the year.
- Web Gastronomica de Enrique Domenech: Manjar Blanco Receta, retrieved on 22-04-2007
- CyberPadres.com: MANJAR BLANCO, retrieved on 22-04-2007.
- Plural World: Colombian gastronomy
- BoliviaWeb: Galeria de Recetas: MANJAR BLANCO, retrieved on 22-04-2007