Last year, I read a book about the Fall of Constantinople – figured it would be a pretty good way to prepare for my second visit to Istanbul (and it did). In the book (besides reading about the many battles), I was also interested in the subplot of this period in history – the psyche of the people and how they thought.
Back then, people would look for harbingers, omens or signs of what was to come and they would react or prepare for an anticipated event accordingly. One sign of Spring (on this blog) is the arrival of asparagus in the markets and here on this blog. Today will be a rather warm Spring day and the next harbinger of Spring to arrive is the appearance of mangoes on the city’s fruit stands.
Make no mistake, Canada does not produce mangoes but we do receive them from warmer climes like Mexico. Canada relies on imports of fruits like citrus (no, we don’t like scurvy either), pineapples, bananas and mangoes. Apparently, mangoes have surpassed bananas as the most popular fruit around the world. What’s your favourite fruit?
Mango is my favourite fruit. It’s also a pragmatic fruit as it transports well (Canada is thankful) and much like bananas and pineapples – they may be picked “green” and ripen at home n your fruit basket. There are two types of mangos that appear on fruit stands: one is the large egg-shaped mango could be the Haden, Tommy/Atkins, Keitt, and Kent. All these mangos look similar, arrive on stands firm and green and ripen to a softer feel and they acquire a red & orange hue.
The smaller but far sweeter mango (that I prefer) are the Ataulfo and Francine mangos and if you’re really lucky – you’ll find the Alphonso mangoes from India. These also are green when picked and they are kidney-shaped and ripen to become all yellow (some black spots are okay) and they are sweeter than the larger mangos. All the mangoes I’ve mentioned above vary in name and in origin and you may see any one of these mangoes on fruit stands, depending on what time of year it is in your region.
Up until recently, I’ve only ever enjoyed mangoes on their own as simply a fruit snack or part of my breakfast. A few weeks ago I was out and about in Toronto entertaining my friend Diane Kochilas and local restauranteur/chef Aristedes Pasparakis. Aristedes dines out almost every night and one particular evening, he took us out to three different restaurants within three hours and we sampled three different cuisines!
We started off with Tapas, then headed down the street for some “fusion” if you will and capped the evening at a restaurant that specialized in southern Indian Cuisine. The whole evening was quite memorable but one of the stand-out dishes that we ate was a mango-ginger ice cream. In India, ice cream is called “Kulfi” and one can even seek out “kulfi” containers at an Indian specialty store. These kulfi containers are metal and they act like moulds, offering your ice cream in a slightly tapered cylindrical shape (like the homemade popsicles those super-moms would make for all the neighborhood kids).
Today’s recipe of Mango-Ginger Ice Cream is inspired by the warm Spring weather and that ice cream that delighted Diane, Aristedes and I a few weeks ago and if I may, declare Spring DEFINITELY here and ice cream season is here!
Mango-Ginger Ice Cream
1 heaping Tbsp. rice flour (or corn starch)
1 cup whole (homo milk)
1 can evaporated milk
pinch of salt
1 can condensed milk
4 ripe Ataulfo or Alphonso mangoes
2 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
- Pour the milk and evaporated milk (a lighter alternative to cream) into a medium pot over medium heat and bring to just scalding. In the meantime add the rice flour or corn starch into a bowl with some water and whisk into a slurry. When the milk has reached a scalding heat, slowly whisk it into the bowl with the slurry then pour back into the port and re-heat while stirring until the mixture has become thick.
- Remove from the heat and add your condensed milk and pinch of salt and allow to cool. In the meantime, peel and remove the seeds from your mangoes and place in your food processor or blender until a puree. Add the mango puree into your ice cream base and stir in. Cover and place in your fridge to cool (for at least 4 hours.
- Assuming you’ve already pre-chilled your ice cream canister, remove it from the freezer and set-up your ice cream maker (according to mfgr. instructions) and pour your ice cream base into the chilled canister and churn for 30 minutes. While the ice cream maker is churning, now’s the time to add your fresh grated ginger.
- Remove the churned ice cream into a tub and place in your freezer overnight. Serve with a mango slice garnish or topped with some chopped nuts (Indians serve mango kulfi with chopped pistachios).
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