Mango is a versatile fruit with incredible taste and pleasant aroma. It is a very popular fruit in India holding the ‘National fruit’, title. Its presence for a short while in summer makes it all the more celebrated. When it is the season, there is an abundance of it. There are many types of mangoes with different shapes and a mix of fibrous, sour, fleshy and sweet varieties. It is loved by many and I am no exception!
There are lots of mango memories, but I would like to share one which surfaces at the sight of mangoes. There is an old mango tree in my aunt’s backyard in Kerala, in addition to other smaller trees. This huge tree produces small mangoes, the country variety that has no special name. It is very sour while raw, and sugary sweet when ripe. When young, I spent a lot of hours under that tree.
We go there during summer vacation when school closes to find the tree loaded with mangoes. All children, including cousins and some neighborhood kids eagerly wait for them to fall. Following a sudden gust of wind, we could hear the ripe mangoes falling. They scatter in all directions and hide under grass, dry leaves and bushes. Among the kids, there would be a secret competition to collect the most mangoes and race towards the tree to pick them. My cousins and I kept a count of our picks while dropping them into a large basket. The best ones were eaten immediately. No knife was involved in that operation. We pinch off the acidic stalk area and rip open the skin with our teeth and taste the flesh, juice dripping from our hands. Totally barbaric but a lovely experience!
I know all those mangoes back home would have ripened and fallen and wonder who picked them now! Mango season offers more than mangoes; a cloud of sweet thoughts.
My husband brought a crate of mangoes and we did not completely miss the fun of tasting mangoes. A friend recommended a store that sold Alphonso mangoes, the sweetest variety from India. It is named after a Portuguese nobleman, who introduced grafting to produce this superior quality mango. Its flavor is so intense, a punch in the face, of sugar, acidic bitter and creaminess in the right proportion.
All of them in our crate started ripening at the same time. Well, we ate them as fast as possible and tried to put some in other preparations to mix and match with different flavors.
Ripe mango has flavour compounds and aromas that gets easily destroyed by heat. So cooking is not a good option unless the sour and sweet varieties are used. That is the reason why we eat them as such or use in preparations like drinks or sorbet to relish its high sugar concentration. So this mango recipe here is very simple with less cooking.
I got this idea from drizzleanddip mango-passionfruit-and-yoghurt-brulee but changed the ingredients slightly based on availability at home. I used strawberries, ricotta cheese, palm sugar and cream with mango. Making mango into a fancy dessert after you are tired of eating is an interesting way to enjoy it.
- 1- 2 mangoes cut into long pieces after removing pit and skin
- 2-3 strawberries cut lengthwise
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup shaved palm sugar
- butter to grease
- Grease a heat proof dish with little butter.
- Arrange mango pieces in a single layer on the bottom of the dish.
- Put slices of strawberries in between.
- Mix heavy cream with sugar and add to ricotta and blend well.
- Drop this mix on top of the fruits.
- Crumble or shave palm sugar on top.
- Broil it on high until sugar on top melts.
- Serve it immediately or chilled.
Last year, when I visited India, I bought some palm sugar (Karipetti) from Kerala. Palm sugar is made from the sap of the Palmyra trees which is a commonly found palm tree in South India. It has a special sweetness and I wanted to try it. Granulated sugar or brown sugar can be used in its place.
Mango is not cooked in this dessert as broiling caramelizes only the sugar on top. I used the broil option in my oven and allowed the sugar to bubble. It would be good to use a brûlée torch to get this effect. Some liquid separates when you cut into it. Don’t worry, that liquid is equally delicious.