Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Consider the Mango . . . Homemade Mango Ice Cream, That Is . . .

Ahh, the coy beauty of the mango . . . reclining placidly on my kitchen counter, unperturbed by the congregation of vine-ripened tomatoes mere inches away. What would mangoes say if they could speak? Would we hear a predictable, "Get me out of here!" or perhaps, "Wouldn't you rather have one of those lovely bananas over there?" No, I don't think so. It seems to me they enjoy employing reverse psychology, the bravest ones characteristically remarking, "You know, we're really good in ice cream."

Alas, glorious mango, you are indeed good in ice cream, especially when it's homemade.

There's a first time for everything and this week was my maiden voyage making homemade ice cream. Oh, I'd hovered in the background as a child when, for a few short years once or twice a summer, my father would make vanilla ice cream in one of those old White Mountain hand-crank, wooden ice cream freezers. Ours was in fact a gift to him from my mom, I believe for Father's Day. While recalling one day the exquisite creaminess of the ice cream he'd tasted as a child, he expressed the desire to own one. I'm sure my mother added a stipulation--or at least wanted to add one--upon presenting the gift, that he'd have to bear the primary burden of endlessly cranking the handle.

I didn't buy my family one of those old ice-and-salt manual-crank freezers, no sir. You may know by now how much I love and adore my KitchenAid mixer, right? Yeah. I do. Well, anyway, last week I broke down and ordered the ice cream-maker attachment from Amazon. It arrived amazingly fast I must say, as if it knew how curious I was to give it a whirl and couldn't wait to accommodate me. Give it a whirl I did. I happened to have two very ripe mangoes on hand so that's what I used for the test drive.

The recipe I chose came from a non-recent ice cream cookbook I picked up in the library called simply Ice Cream, Sherbets and Sorbets, by Mable and Gar Hoffman. I customized the recipe a tiny bit (slightly insane, I know, never having made ice cream before and here I am actually changing the recipe without trying it first . . . what can I tell you?), by doubling it, using more heavy cream than it called for (I had some I wanted to use up, okay . . . what's wrong with that?) and not really measuring the amount of mango I threw in. The result was an ice cream that was super, ultra creamy. Almost too rich, really, it was so good.

The mangoes, with their beautiful, bright, golden color and refreshing tropical aroma, lend a wonderful summery aspect. They're not even close to being overly sweet so the ice cream itself reflects that. Understandably though, some people may want more sweetness so I suppose there would be no harm in increasing the sugar. Because of this, it may be an ice cream with more adult-appeal than kid-appeal (I think that's at least the third time I've had to write that in one of the recipes I've posted . . . hmm . . . what's that all about? . . . don't I like giving kids food they'll enjoy? What kind of a mom am I anyway? I'll worry about that later.)

The hardest part about making ice cream is the waiting period. The creamy mixture has to refrigerate for at least eight hours before you can use it. Eight hours! Yeah, I know.

Fresh Mango Ice Cream

Makes about 2 quarts.

2 large very ripe mangoes
2 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice (or a combo, that's what I used out of necessity)
4 tsp. cornstarch
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 cups heavy cream (or you can use all half & half, or a combo of some of each)
2 large egg yolks, beaten
4 Tbsp. light corn syrup

Peel the mangoes, cut the pulp from the seed, and put the pieces into a food processor or blender. Puree the mango pulp along with the lemon/lime juice. Set aside.

In a medium-size saucepan, blend the cornstarch and sugar. Pour the cream into that, along with the egg yolk and corn syrup. Cook and stir continually over medium heat until it becomes bubbly, then cook for one minute longer.

Cool the mixture. Stir in the pureed mangoes to completely combine. Put this mixture into a pour-friendly container, cover it, and refrigerate it for at least 8 hours.

After the waiting period, prepare it according to the specific instructions of your own ice cream maker. It will be really soft at first, and it's delish that way, but if you freeze it after it's done, it will come to closely resemble traditional "hard" ice cream and you'll be able to scoop it nicely.


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