The peak of summer heat is fast approaching and for me, it conjures up old habits of fleeing over the hill to the cool coasts of Santa Cruz. In years past, we lived in our claustrophobic one bedroom apartment which stubbornly collected heat no matter how many windows I opened. In the early years of our marriage, as a student and then later as a teacher, I always had two and a half months off for summer. Grand plans would be made for these months. I’d dream of starting that home inventory project I’d always been meaning to do or scrub the walls and clean out the closets. I’d finally start writing that curriculum book I’d been planning. The only thing I hadn’t kept in mind was the fact that I was now without the air conditioning I
had grown so accustomed to in the classrooms.
That first afternoon of my summer freedom would inevitably be filled with frustration as all the plans I’d made remained untouched due to the exhaustion of stuffy heat waves. Forget about standing at a stove, even breakfast made me sweat. My only solutions were to either leave Hubby behind and spend most of my time at my father’s house in foggy Aptos, or spend most of the day in the overly air conditioned library. I did a good deal of both, but switched to days at the library when my guilt of abandoning my husband for cooler climates began to scratch at the back of my mind till I could no longer ignore it.
On those days when I did stay home and brave the heat, I whipped up a batch of homemade mango ice cream, which I would snack on throughout the day as a reward for braving the heat, or if I was just bored.
My love for mango was slow coming. When I think of dessert, my mind wanders toward chocolate rather than fruit. It wasn’t until I saw my own mother’s love for all the mango treats Indian food had to offer that I started to try them out for myself. There was one occasion when Hubby and I took my family to Bombay Gardens, our favorite bay area Indian restaurant. This place is known for it’s spicy, authentic food; something my mother was not yet accustomed to. She spent the whole evening eating naan and soft serve mango ice cream and enjoyed every minute of it.
Since then, I’d wanted to learn to make my own mango ice cream. The light, refreshing and tropical taste is the perfect afternoon cooling snack, where chocolate might be a little to decadent so early in the day. However, I didn’t have an ice cream maker and had no desire for another item to store in our tiny kitchen. The solution was to make a mango mousse and simply freeze it. You can’t call it ice cream and it may not be mousse or sorbet, but it certainly is delicious, easy and quick.
QUICK & EASY MANGO ICE CREAM
If you so desired, you could pickup a flat of fresh mangoes, take them home, wash, peel and purée them. This would make an amazing dessert but we are going for quick and easy. So I like to pick up a can of mango purée at my local Indian store. I have not seen this available at mainstream American stores, so for those of you in small towns without the luxury of an Indian store, you might need to make your own purée. You can make large batches of mango purée and freeze it for future use.
The great thing about this recipe is that it’s not fussy. The ratios and measurements really don’t matter, you can use more whipped cream or less whipped cream and as much purée as you like. The recipe below is a suggestion to get you started.
If you are making your own purée, you’ll probably need about 8 ripe mangoes.
To make your own purée:
Wash and peel the mangos then chop them into pieces that will fit into a blender. Blend until silky smooth. Use immediately or store in the freezer for later use.
8 oz. can of mango purée
1 pint (4 cups) of whipping cream
* I’ve discovered that manufacturing cream is a great substitute for whipping cream (it has a higher fat percentage) and it’s usually cheaper as well. I get mine at Smart & Final.
1. WHIP THE CREAM
Pour the cream into the bowl of your electric mixture. Using the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium speed for a minute, until it’s stiffed up a bit, then beat on high for a minute until it forms firm peaks (if you beat it on high from the beginning, your kitchen will be splattered with cream).
…IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN ELECTRIC MIXER
You can whip the cream by hand, though the only advantage to this will be the amazing triceps you’ll develop because this will take a while (make sure to switch arms).
If you want to stick with the quick & easy theme of this recipe, I recommended using store bought whipped cream. Buy the kind in the plastic container, rather than in the spray tube. Make sure it’s sugar-free as the mango purée is sweet all on it’s own.
2. MAKE THE MOUSSE
Pour the purée in a second large mixing bowl. Using a whisk, add a third of the whipped cream into the bowl of purée. Whisk together until it is completely combined.
Discard the whisk and switch to a spatula. Add half of the remaining whipped cream into the mango purée. Gently fold the whipped cream into the purée. Once the mixture is combined, add the rest of the whipped cram and fold until combined.
HOW TO FOLD:
Folding is very similar to stirring, except more gentle. It’s used when mixing a light and puffy ingredient (usually something that has been whipped) into a heavy ingredient.
- Swipe the spatula down the middle of the mixture, scooping what is on the bottom of the bowl up and over so it is now on top.
- Continuously rotate the bowl with one hand as you continue to fold through the mixture.
Transfer the mousse into a container and freeze. The center takes the longest to freeze, so it’s best to let it freeze over night.
This ice cream freezes very solid. So I like to take it out of the freezer just as we are sitting down to dinner so it’s had a chance to soften by the time we clear our plates.