Mango Ice Cream, a Filipino ice cream treat
I remember riding with my late Dad, in his jeep, to survey the mango trees in our farm, in a small rural, agricultural town in the Philippines. As a child, every tree loomed far bigger than me. I always had to look up to trees for a good view. In the process, the blue skies, with streams of sunshine would peek through the green foliage on the trees. It felt like an old friend smiling warmly at me, on a torridly hot summer day. But in reality, they were mangoes ripening on trees, ready to be picked.
My dad would point to a green mango, perched from its stem, hanging precariously from a longer branch. “You let that ripen first before you harvest it,” Dad advised. I was puzzled and fascinated. Like any kid would, I sensed the process of watching green mangoes ripen into golden yellow orbs right before our eyes was a science to my parents. I couldn’t wait till they ripened. I loved the sweet tropical aroma of a golden ripe mango once sliced. I loved to dive my spoon into the soft flesh, scoop out the velvety slice and let it slide sweetly into my mouth. And I still do.
“Mangoes always make Filipinos homesick because nothing can take the place of Philippine mangoes.” – as said by Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan, from their cookbook “Memories of Philippine Kitchens”
Nothing is more true than this. Mangoes are the national fruit of the Philippines. Filipino food is best eaten with mangoes. We grew up with mangoes. Our backyard and our farm in the Philippines was abundant with this golden yellow, heart shaped fruit. I can’t remember a time when my mornings did not start with mangoes.
When I visited Manila early this year and stayed with my cousins, I was asked what I wanted for breakfast: “MANGOES!” I replied, without batting an eyelash.
I insisted I did not need anything elaborate or fancy for breakfast, lunch or dinner. All I wanted was my favorite fruit. And with that, orders were dispatched to procure the best and sweetest mangoes for me. In fact, my cousin, Dang made sure the mangoes were in a special fruit basket in my bedroom ~ she wanted to make sure I could easily reach for one in case I woke up in the middle of the night and desired one. Yes, fighting jet lag was easier to deal with when a mango was within reach.
Back here in the USA, right now it is the middle of summer. Thankfully, I am still able to find the Ataulfo variety of mangoes in the Asian markets. These variety are the closest to the Philippines’ “champagne” mangoes I languish in each time I go back to Manila to visit.
And because I wanted to prolong the sweet satisfaction of having my favorite fruit, I made some Mango Ice cream. The best recipe I found was from the same cookbook where I found the Jackfruit “Langka” ice cream I made a few weeks ago. All that was needed was to make the sweet custard first, stove top. It was a breeze. I made sure to have fully ripened sweet mangoes, peeled and pureed.
In place of a regular ice cream maker, I used my new hand held food processor and “churned” the cream for a few minutes. The result was magical. In a few minutes, I knew I had mango ice cream in my hands. I chilled it overnight and the next day, we enjoyed the frozen mango treat with some freshly baked pie. It was mango-magnificent! And it was a marvelous way to end our Sunday Supper and start the week…with supremely sweet scoops of homemade mango ice cream !
MANGO ICE CREAM
A recipe from the 1st edition, “Memories of Philippine Kitchens” by Amy Besa & Romy Dorotan
Servings : Makes about 1 quart
2 medium-sized ripe mangoes, peeled and pitted (use Ataulfo mangoes for this recipe)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
½ teaspoon lemon extract
- Place 1 mango in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Finely chop the second remaining mango. Transfer the puree and the diced mango to separate bowls. There should be about 1/3 cup of each.
- In a medium saucepan, over medium low heat, combine the cream, milk and 1/3 cup of the sugar. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Whisk the remaining 1/3 cup sugar with the egg yolks in a bowl till they are light and lemon-colored.
- Slowly, while still whisking, pour about a quarter of the hot cream mixture into the eggs to temper. Do this very carefully, making sure the eggs remain the same consistency. You do not want the eggs to cook yet at this point. Continue to whisk, slowly pour in the remaining cream mixture.
- Transfer the custard back to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook this, while stirring constantly, over very low heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. This should take about 10 minutes, or slightly less. Amy Besa advised “Do not let it boil or the custard will curdle.”
- Strain the custard and let it cool. Occasionally stir this. Cover the custard and refrigerate until cold, for at least 3 hours or more.
- Afterwards, whisk the mango puree into the chilled custard. *If you have an ice cream maker, freeze in an electric ice cream maker following the manufacturers’ instructions.
- In my case, I used a hand held food processor and whisked the mango puree into the chilled custard for approximately ten minutes. Then fold in the chopped mangoes. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm.
- RECIPE NOTES: Amy Besa, cookbook author sent me a quick tip for this Mango Ice Cream. She suggested to use some fresh lemon zest by grating a teaspoon of lemon rind if desired. She advised the natural ingredients are better than processed foods. Thanks, Amy! (Amy Besa & Romy Dorotan’s original recipe in the cookbook does not contain any lemon flavoring. The addition of lemon flavor was my son’s preference. Feel free to omit lemon if you prefer.)
Best served with a freshly made homemade pie, like the Mango Cheesecake I made !
Posted under Appetizers and Sides, Cooking, Desserts and Sweets, Dinner, Events Holidays, Featured, Fruit, Lunch, Travel by Elizabeth Q.