The Lady in Vanilla White – Belgium’s iconic Dame Blanche – ICE CREAM NATION

The Woman in White – Belgium’s signature ice cream dessert has a haunting identify, however it’s simple to see why this specific combo of candy, pale vanilla and wealthy, darkish chocolate has loved such lasting reputation. However do you know that she truly could also be Danish?

Belgium, located subsequent to France and Germany, will not be solely well-known for being the land of chocolate pralines and internet hosting the establishments of the European Union. Many additionally take into account that the world’s finest fries might be discovered right here. And as ice cream desserts are involved, the Dame Blanche is the uncontested and conventional primary!

Belgian Dame Blanche – the origins

“The Woman in White” – a traditional ghostly apparition. Would possibly she be associated to the equally ghostly Woman in Black?

You may suppose that developing with a mix of vanilla ice cream and heat chocolate may occur wherever. And you may most likely be proper. However that gained’t cease us from looking on the current ice cream lore about Dame Blanche. Plainly the identify goes again to an opera from 1825 with this very identify!

In line with some, the French chef legend Auguste Escoffier – an avid opera-lover – invented an ice cream dessert round 1825 to honour the opera La Dame blanche (by François-Adrien Boieldieu). The favored opera wasn’t very scary however did have a fairly good-natured ghost – who ultimately turned out to be fairly alive and lovable, simply in time for the opera’s romantic ending.

Nevertheless, it appears that evidently Escoffier’s dessert was much more superior than the vanilla ice cream and chocolate-creation we often consider as of late (from what I’ve learn, Escoffier’s creation consisted of almond ice cream, white peach and white currants, framed by a greenish-white lemon sorbet).

The hyperlink to Belgium? I do not know, aside from the truth that Paris is lower than an hour’s prepare journey from Brussels, the capital of Belgium. And whereas the Belgian underground organisation Dame Blanche was a part of the resistance towards the German occupiers throughout the First World Conflict, I’ve not discovered anybody making that linkage to the ice cream dessert.

So – again to the vanilla-and-chocolate model of at this time.

There are variations, after all. A number of variations add whipped cream on prime of the ice cream and the recent chocolate sauce however personally, I discover bit too wealthy! (in case you are a cream-lover, nevertheless, be at liberty to indulge!). Others add whipped meringue, chestnut paste and different extras, however let’s keep on with the fundamentals right here!

… or is that this ice cream dessert truly from Denmark?

In Germany and Switzerland, this dessert is named “Coupe Dänemark“, which suggests Denmark because the origin. In line with an “different origin-story” – inconceivable to confirm, like a lot different ice cream lore – the dessert was invented out of necessity on the well-known enjoyable truthful Tivoli in Copenhagen. One evening, supposedly, a dessert-craving customer to Tivoli’s restaurant got here so late within the evening that each one the desserts have been offered out. The ingenious chef improvised with the few remaining components nonetheless accessible – some vanilla ice cream, a bit of chocolate (shortly melted) and, in line with some, some whipped cream.

The principle entrance to Tivoli – Copehagen’s well-known enjoyable truthful gardens and presumably one of many locations that helped popularise Dame Blanche beneath the identify “Coupe Dänemark”  (photograph from pre-COVID days by Sissew)

A really Belgian vanilla base

There are various recipes for vanilla, and I are likely to suppose that you could by no means have too many 😉

When you have a favorite of your personal, be at liberty to make use of that one. Myself, I made a decision to honour this notably Belgian ice cream dessert by going for a very Belgian vanilla ice cream!

So at this time, we’ll stroll within the footsteps of Belgian grasp chef and three Michelin star-holder Pierre Wynants – in his energetic days ruler of the near-legendary Belgian restaurant “Comme chez soi”. Lucky to have been there myself, and so impressed that I ended up shopping for Pierre Wynants’ cookbook “Inventive Belgian delicacies”, I shortly turned the pages till I discovered his vanilla ice cream recipe!

Traditional vanilla ice cream, Belgian type

Typically talking, this can be a classical custard primarily based vanilla. Noteworthy is that Wynants solely cooks (and pasteurizes) the milk-egg yolk-sugar (and vanilla) elements: the cream is added afterwards –  a slight modification I’ve seen another cooks additionally use. If nothing else, this trick ought to hurry up the cooling down/chilling half which is so vital for end-result.

In any other case, Wynants makes use of the standard, “staged” manner of creating a custard base: notably, he sticks to first whipping the egg yolks with the sugar, and solely then mixing this with the dairy.

Whereas I dare to suppose that this truly is sort of pointless, I dutifully went with this “staged” method out of respect. Nevertheless, the “Modernista method” the place you principally combine every part collectively from the very begin ought to work simply as nicely (though you continue to may maintain again on the cream for the later stage, identical to Wynants suggests).

The traditional “staged method” to creating the custard ice cream – right here mixing the first-mixed egg yolks/sugar combine with the heated dairy (For those who ask me, the extra fashionable technique is far faster and simply nearly as good 😉 )

The chocolate sauce

Belgium is known for chocolate, and an actual Dame Blanche needs to be served with heat chocolate. And “traditional” Dame Blanche solely requires darkish, melted chocolate of fine high quality!

As you could know, chocolate doesn’t require very excessive temperatures to soften – you possibly can truly even soften chocolate in your microwave oven. Nevertheless, if you wish to do it in a extra traditional manner, go for a swift water-bath (“bain marie”). Oh, and no want for fancy kitchen instruments there – I often get your hands on a steel bowl or related and place it in sauce pan with heat/simmering water: break the chocolate in smaller items (will cut back the time it takes to soften it!) and be ready to whisk round a bit with a fork or one thing: that’s all!











The one downside with a melted chocolate-only sauce is that it – fairly naturally – cools down and companies up about as quickly because it hits the chilly ice cream. In different phrases, if you wish to hold your chocolate fluid, go along with a extra elaborate chocolate sauce!

And if you wish to check a very unique one, I’ve added Pierre Wynants’ personal chocolate sauce recipe under!

Dame Blanche brilliance


Simplicity could be a stunning factor, and Dame Blanche is an efficient instance. As we all know, real vanilla ice cream is an beautiful deal with, and the pairing with chocolate is a traditional for good causes. The Belgian vanilla ice cream is top-notch: luxurious and nonetheless barely “mild” (in sense) for a custard primarily based ice cream. Whereas the traditional companion to the ice cream is pure melted chocolate, it’s clear that this chocolate gained’t keep molten very lengthy as soon as it meets up with the chilly. For individuals who choose extra liquidity, use a extra elaborate chocolate sauce as an alternative! And for all those that love whipped cream, why not add a dollop on prime of your Dame Blanche? There you go – you’re able to go continental in type!

PS. Do you know that there is also a dessert known as “The Black Woman”? And sure – you guessed it: Chocolate ice cream with molten white chocolate!

PPS. For those who like opera, yow will discover that “Dame Blanche” on, for example, Spotify 😉

Dame Blanche – Belgian vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce, faithfully after Pierre Wynants

Probably the most Belgian of all ice cream desserts, however fairly well-known in different elements of the world too! The mixture of fantastic vanilla ice cream and a luxurious chocolate sauce is traditional mixture that by no means will get boring! By the best way, in sure different elements of the world, this specific combo is called “Coupe Dänemark”.

  • 500 ml (about 2.1 cups) entire milk
  • 250 ml ( 1 cup) cream (ideally about 45 % fats)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 140 ml (three/5 cup) sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod (sliced and scraped; all for use)
  • about 200-400 gram good high quality darkish chocolate (for the sauce; quantity relying on how a lot ice cream you propose to serve)
  • (elective) some whipped cream (to make use of as topping on the time of serving)

For Pierre Wynants’ chocolate sauce

  • 10 gram (about 1 degree tablespoon) cocoa powder
  • 15 gram sugar
  • 15 gram butter
  • 15 gram espresso
  • 300 ml (about 1 1/four cup) water
  • 100 gram bitter or plain chocolate
  • Cut up the vanilla pod. Scrape out the seeds and blend each them and the pod with the milk.

  • Combine the egg yolks with the sugar and whisk nicely.

  • Deliver the milk to the boil. The whisk it – little by little – into the egg yolk-sugar combine.

  • Return to the range. Gently convey it to “Nappe stage” (= within the temperature bracket 82-84º C /180-183º F).

  • Take it off the range and add the cream.

  • Let calm down and ideally chill.

  • Take away the vanilla bean. Churn in your ice cream machine, or still-freeze utilizing your freezer.

  • When about to serve the dessert, soften the chocolate (for instance in a water-bath) and drizzle over the vanilla scopes. For those who like, add some whipped cream on prime too!

Chocolate sauce à la Pierre Wynants

  • Deliver the water to the boil. Grind the espresso.

  • When the water boils, add the espresso; take away from warmth and let infuse for 10 minutes. Pressure by a filter.

  • Gently soften the chocolate in a sauce pan.

  • Combine the (softened) butter and the cocoa powder in one other sauce pan. Add the sugar and blend nicely.

  • Pour the espresso on the chocolate little by little, mixing and guaranteeing correct dilution of the chocolate.

  • Add the coffee-chocolate combine with the butter-cocoa-sugar combine: work them nicely collectively.

  • Whereas whisking, convey all of it to the boil. Pressure by a sieve and permit to chill.

  • Earlier than serving, stir nicely as soon as once more.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.