Before the season runs away let me rush in some ice cream recipes...!! I am in India at the moment and I think Mango Ice Cream is appropriate to share now. It is the first ice creams I shared on this blog and it came with a lot of baggage but tasted divine, perhaps for that baggage?! Until recently I hand churned my ice creams, first making the custard and then cooling, freezing and churning every hour or so. It took nearly half a day to make a pint of ice cream ready to set! And, then another half of hot footed impatience for it to freeze and be ready for scooping. Wait! Then another a couple of hours before I actually got to taste it, because, well, all the photography... It was quite a production as you can imagine!Read More
Years ago, when I lived in the UES, I would hike a mile North every so often to stock up on fresh corn tortillas, avocados (I was not a prolific eater of it then!), mangoes, and the CHILLIES! Since I moved out, I have been .. well.. rather cheating on the cuisine, tagging every taco I made as it, every chill-chocolate rub as dry mole.
Anyway, now I have seen the light. Amongst all the amazing things I discovered in the span of a patient 30 minutes were.....Read More
When I, finally, met her, she was just what I expected! Fun, chirpy, warm and happy! :) We clicked, just like that. Over the course of English Tea with her and Christine, I found out more about her, her love for cookbooks, her love for recreating novelle restaurant dishes and her love for New York (YAY!!). Those few hours we spent together weren't enough by any means but sufficient to form a bond across the seven seas that we live!
And now, without further ado, I give the stage to Trissa, who is sharing her grandmother's cherished Mango Cream Pie recipe with us! :)
The first time I met Asha I was inclined to hate her. Honestly. Here was this beautiful and extremely bright lady. I knew she could cook (and very well at that), she was well travelled (having even lived in Tokyo at one point in her life) and now was living in New York. She took great photos, had a fantastic eye for style and had a blog that I had admired for many months. So of course, you have to excuse me for being a little envious - she was living the life I'd dreamed of!
We spent an afternoon with Christine, another amazing blogger having a bite and a quaint coffee shop and then shopping at the Chelsea markets - chatting about food, life, and even more food! At the end of the afternoon I knew I had made friends for life.
How could I hate someone so charming? Not only that, her honest writing, fab food photos and truly unique recipes make her blog a pleasure to read. Well, maybe I can't ever have Asha's life, I know this is as close as I could possibly get.
It is an absolute honor to guest on Asha's blog. To celebrate this occasion I asked my Mom to give me my grandmother's Mango Cream Pie recipe. After all, we all know Asha loves mangoes (there is still a healthy debate going on as to whether Indian or Philippine mangoes are the best!). :)
Never before has this recipe been shared with anyone. My grandmother was widowed at a very young age with six children to feed. Before she opened her restaurant, she made her livelihood selling cakes and this Mango Cream Pie was the most requested of all the ones she made. My Mom said this is the recipe that put them through school. I asked my Mom if I could give Asha the recipe for her to post this on her blog - I explained I needed a really special recipe and she suggested this one.
So Asha - here it is - the Mango Cream Pie to beat all the other mango cream pies out there. And, by the way, if you use peaches, then it becomes the Peach Cream Pie to beat all the other peach cream pies...
MANGO CREAM PIE
1 cup (225 grams) butter, cold and diced
2 ¼ cups (285 grams) flour
½ cup (113 grams) sugar
3 egg yolks
1 cup (250 ml) cream
l/4 cup (31 grams) icing/powdered sugar
l tsp. vanilla
4 to 5 mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks (peaches are a great alternative too)
3 Egg whites
1/4 cup (31 grams) icing/powdered sugar
1/4 cup (113 grams) sugar
1/4 cup (57 grams) water
Place the flour, butter, and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the dough resembles fine crumbs. Add the egg yolks and continue to pulse. Don’t blend the pastry too much. Stop just before it seems like it is coming together like a ball on the blender blades.
Place the dough in a lightly floured work bench and knead the dough one or two times just until you can form a disc with the dough. Pat it down until it is around 1 cm high. Wrap in cling wrap and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour to overnight.
When the dough is ready, roll it out on a floured work surface until it is around ½ cm thick. Place the rolled out dough on the tart mold and allow to rest another hour. Then cover with parchment paper and pie weights.
Bake in a pre-heated 180c (fan forced) oven for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the dough is golden. Allow the tart to cool.
For the mango cream, while the cream until semi soft peaks. Add the icing sugar and then beat again, but be careful not to over whip. Add the vanilla. Fold in the mango chunks and set aside.
For the meringue topping, beat the egg whites until semi soft peaks and then add the icing sugar. At the same time, place the regular sugar and water in a pan and heat the mixture until a candy thermometer registers 115 c (240 f). As you beat the egg whites, slowly add the sugar and beat until cold. (It's a good idea to use a stand mixer).
Pour the mango cream onto the tart shell and top with the meringue mixture. Use a blow torch to burn the meringue until golden.
colors of sunset
envelope juice so succulent
sugar and honey blush.
And sticky rivers of laughter
trickle from fingers to elbows
as strands of delicious memories
stick between my teeth.
For in you,
I still taste our childhood joy
perched high in grandma’s tree
so busy searching for the ripest, sweetest prize
that we rarely managed to make it
past the front yard and into the house
for weekly afternoon tea.
Mango trees are a common sight in Chennai (formerly Madras, South India), where I come from. They are long lived, and, with some care, bear wonderful, luscious fruits. They also represent familial bonds and generations of care and love. Almost every old house in Chennai will have a mango tree and mine is no exception.
The tree in our house was planted by my maternal grandmother, over 50 years ago. She grafted two flavorful varieties and the resulting fruit is unique for it's large size as also it's sweet taste. My grandad would tend to it with sufficient water (we were one of the lucky houses with a well on our grounds), fertilizers (organic coz our house is a perpetual zoo, no kidding!) and pesticides.
With all their loving care, it spread its roots deep and sent out branches in all angles providing the perfect summer retreat; whether you wanted to climb the branches and nestle up there eating unripe mangoes or rest in the generous shade it offered.
Both my grandparents have passed away... but the mango tree keeps them alive through memories. It is symbolic of their love, the family they cherished, the wisdom they shared and the countless moments of happiness of me playing around it as my grandad sipped tea under it's shade....
Here in the US, I neither have a tree nor, until recently, access to sweet mangoes. Then, over the last couple of years, I started seeing this particular variety of the fruit sold by street vendors that was succulent and sweet!! Even, Mr. FSK, who only ever eats the Alphonso and Kesar varieties, concurred that they were good fruits! They go by many names - honey mango, champagne mango etc. I prefer Honey Mango because their flesh does taste like sweet nectar!
There are many things you can do with mangoes depending on their ripeness and Indian cuisine offers recipes for the very young, raw ones to the very sweet, ripe fruits (like the Mango Saffron Ice Cream). Today, I share with you a recipe for ripe mangoes that pair well with a milk pudding made with tapioca pearls (sago/sabudana/javarici)...
It brings back memories... hot afternoons giving away to cooler evenings, the leaves of our tree gently swaying in the breeze, me playing and my grandpa and granny enjoying tea and watching me....
On another happy note, I was super thrilled that my photo of the wonderful Blue Eggs won me a DMBLGIT award in the Aesthetics category. Many thanks to Andrew for hosting this month's edition!
Styling note: I wanted to showcase the pastel shades of eggs without using too many accessories that would take away from such an elegant subject. So, to bring out the colors, I used a blue table cloth as the primary background. The burlap was styled for a nest-like effect that would cradle the eggs..
Mango Tapioca Pudding
1 cup soaked tapioca pearls (soak them for a couple of hours in cold water until soft)
2 cups whole milk (if you want a richer version, you can substitute some of this with condensed milk)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp crsuhed cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup fresh mango puree (if you using sweetened puree, adjust the amount of sugar)
Bring tapioca, milk and sugar to a boil. Lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the mixture thickens and milk has reduced to half. Off the heat, stir in the crushed cardamom and nutmeg. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
When cool, gently fold in the mango puree, taking care not to mush the swollen tapioca pearls. Serve chilled or at room temperature garnished with roasted cashews.
Yesterday, I had a bowl of yolks glowering at me from inside the fridge willing me to make something out of them. Today I had icecream for dessert! :)
How? Well, it happened this way! I was scouring my favorite blogs for inspiration and ran into Barbara's Livestrong with a Taste of Yellow event at her blog winoandfoodies. And, that struck a chord. This event is in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation to raise awareness of cancer and the idea is to make a dish that contains a yellow food. It was perfect in so many ways!
I lost a very cherished family member to the disease and reading that post flooded back the memories and gave me the much needed spark. My grandad loved food and his favorite dessert was ice cream. He would sneak into the kitchen in the night (when my mom was asleep) and help himself to some chilled goodness :)). Through his travails with cancer, he would ask for milk to cool down and it did make him feel better....
Anyway, so I thought ice cream would be a perfect ode to him, the Foundation and my yolks! :)
This is my first attempt at homemade ice cream and honestly, it blew me away. And, I don't even have an ice cream maker. I am almost convinced not to get the store bought variety again! Well, there is the convenience factor but aside from that homemade beats the store many hands down.
I used alphonso mango puree from the tin to make the ice cream. Alphonsos are the sweetest and richest of mangoes, available in India during season and no other mango matches that taste. If you can find the fresh mangoes, they are the best but second to that I would definitely recommend these tinned purees for any dessert preparation. You can find them at most Indian grocery stores.
So, after a day of preparation, hand churning and many stolen sips and tastes and licks of the mixing blades (even a drop is too good to waste!!), my mango and saffron frozen custard was set and ready to be devored.
It may not be summer any more but it is always ice cream time and the homier the better! :)
Mango - Saffron Ice Cream
Making ice cream is really easy. But, if you don't have an ice cream maker then it needs some maintainence and constant churning for the first few hours. So, please budget time accordingly
Ice cream made this way, needs to be consumed within a couple of days as there aren't any preservatives in it. But, I don't see that as a problem, anyway! :)
3 egg yolks
1-1/4 cups half and half or light cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup alphonso mango puree
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the yolks and sugar until smooth (about 2 minutes). Meanwhile, heat the half and half in a heavy bottomed pan to just below boiling point.
Slowly, and while continuously whisking the mixture, incorporate the hot milk into the yolk mixture. It is very important that you continue whisking, else the yolks will scramble.
To prepare the custard, pour the mixture back in to the pan and over medium heat, gently heat the mixture, stirring often. The mixture will start to thicken. Continue heating until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon and if you run your finger along the back of the spoon, the streak remains without the cream running down through the streak.
Remove from heat immediately. Do not over heat as the eggs will curdle (done that before!). Whisk the mixture for a minute to stop the custard from cooking further. Strain through a fine sieve to remove any lumps or scrambles. Stir in the saffron and let sit for 5 minutes for the strands to release color (they will continue to color even after). Stir in the vanilla and mango puree till fully incorporated. Cool the mixture to room temperature.
Cover the custard with plastic wrap and refrirgerate for atleast two hours until completely cold. At this point, you can process the mixture in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions.
No Ice Cream Maker Instructions:
Don't fret. It really is simple to make ice cream without all the gadgets. I used to be under the false impression that it was tedious and painful but seriously, it just needs a teeny bit of commitment.
Once the custard mixture is cold, move it to the freezer. After about 45 minutes, check on the mixture. If it has started freezing on the edges, remove and whip up the mixture with a hand-held mixer to break the ice crystals and incorporate some air to create the fluffiness. Return to the freezer and repeat the whisking every hour, three more times. Freeze the mixture for atleast 6 hours or overnight, depending on the texture you like.