Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Caramelized Mango Ice Cream

One year ago today I made my first batch of ice cream. It was mango season and a co-worker had dumped a bag full of mangoes on me with the demand that I make something out of them and bring it back in. There are not a great many appealing mango recipes out there but I did find one for caramelized mango ice cream that looked promising. Failing to find an ice cream churn to borrow I went out and bought a cheap one from Sears. The recipe I made was this one and the results were not so great.

My inexperience was partially to blame as were the inadequacies of my ice cream churn. The big issue was that I didn't realize that Miami backyard mangoes tend to be larger than supermarket mangoes directions calling for "two large ripe mangoes" need some reinterpretation. Combine that with not remembering that ice cream tends to expand as air gets churned in and comic hijinks ensue.

I figure, though, a year's experience counts for something. I should be able to make a few adjustments and make the recipe turn out right.

First off is the question of how much mango I'm actually supposed to be using. The recipe says it makes one quart. The main ingredients are "one mango", "two large ripe mangoes" and two cups of heavy cream so that's two cups of chopped mango. I split it half a cup for the one caramelized mango and one and a half for the two large mangoes that get blended with the cream. I used the firm but fiberless Ford mango I got at the Mango Festival last week for caramelization and for half of the blend-in. I had good results blending the more fibrous backyard mango I got this year from the aforementioned co-worker for sherbet so I used that for the rest of the blend-in. The Ford turned out to have a fairly mild not-too-sweet flavor so the stronger and sweeter flavor of the backyard mango was important too.

I didn't want to make a lot of other changes so I could actually say I made this recipe so I just lightened it up by using half and half instead of heavy cream and bumped the sugar from 1/3 to 1/2 a cup and added a bit of vanilla.

The first time I made this the caramelization went poorly as the mango just dissolved into the sugar. The Ford mango held up better but I didn't didn't cook the sugar long enough for it to harden and give the pieces a good coating. I used turbinado sugar and the retained molasses gave some nice flavor but threw off my judgment of sugar cooking stage by color. Still, I don't think anyone's going to complain about streaks of caramel mixed through the ice cream.

So, into the churn with it and twenty minutes later it's nicely thickened up. The texture is a bit grainy but the flavor is a straightforward mango and cream with notes of molasses even before I mixed in the caramelized mango bits. Not bad.

After ripening, however, the grainy aspect of the texture was more pronounced and the mango flavor faded away. It's really not a whole lot different from a year ago and it's not a whole lot of good so I'm going to go ahead and say that this recipe just doesn't work.

The interesting question is why not? The mango colada sherbet had a creamier texture and stronger mango flavor event with other fibrous and flavorful fruit in it. I'm going to have to blame the fat in the dairy. I can understand how that's damping down the flavor of the mango but I don't understand what's going on with the texture. Not sure I care either as I have no intention of making this recipe again. Well, maybe I'll try again next year.

OK, I've had another bowl and while the flavors don't really pop like many of my recipes have been doing lately, it's not really bad. It's just on the mild and simple side and the texture's fine if you let it melt a bit. I'll bet if I switched up the cup of milk for coconut milk and added some ginger that would be enough to get it to work. I'll have to make a note for next mango season.

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