Monday, August 3, 2009

Mango chutney ice cream

The title of this post is a bit of a spoiler for the end result. It wasn't my intent to make chutney. I just wanted to cook some mango down to concentrate the flavors, but I had the inspiration to add other elements and went with the impulse.

I started with:
1 large ripe mango, strongly flavored, sweet and low on fiber from the last CSA al-a-carte offering. I don't think Margie specified what variety these are, but they've got great flavor and texture. I ditched a few other mango recipes because I can't stop eating them fresh.

To the chopped mango, I added
2 fingerling bananas, firm and tart, frozen and defrosted. These are also from the CSA. They're unusual, but I don't detect a lot of their flavor in the final dish, so you could probably substitute one small Cavendish.

juice of half a lime
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large pinch salt
2 large pinches cayenne pepper
Salt and cayenne are traditional accompaniments to green mango and not unheard of for ripe. Try a slice of ripe mango with generous pinches of both; it completely transforms the flavor. And that's where I went from mango ice cream to chutney ice cream.

I cooked all that down for a good 15 minutes until I had 1 3/4 cups of richly flavored caramelized goop.

I then added
1 1/2 cups cream

and since it needed to be extra sweet for freezing:
1/4 cup white sugar

and to thin it out a bit
1/4 cup milk, and
2 Tablespoons light rum.
I don't think I've used alcohol in an ice cream before (although I've used it plenty of times in sherbet). With all the other ingredients with textural effects, I can't really say if it helped. Didn't hurt, certainly.

Then I chilled and churned. I deliberately left the fruit mixture a little lumpy to add some texture to the ice cream. They got broken up a bit in the churn and, interestingly, the fibers from the mango accumulated on the dasher to create a bezoar sort of thing. Convenient for it to be automatically removed from the final product.

The texture is beautifully soft and creamy straight from the freezer, but with a bit of solidity to it. It's not chewy but it doesn't melt away to nothing immediately. With each bite you start with a shock of salt, fade into warm rich fruit with a slow fade out to the bite of cayenne. When the ice cream has melted away it leaves sweet little pieces of candied fruit that bring back the fruit flavor in a purer form without the mellowing cream. It's really quite lovely.

What's interesting here is that cooked mango, particularly spiced and salted cooked mango, is so unusual that its identity in here is difficult to pin down. It tastes more like the white sapote ice cream I made than fresh mango, but it doesn't taste quite like that either. I could see mis-identifying it as French vanilla with some obscure fruit mixed in, which is odd as it contains neither vanilla nor eggs. I think I said something similar about one of the dishes at the Mango Brunch at the Fairchild last year. Is it just me?

I'm curious what it might be like with some other more readily recognizable cooked fruit--blueberries or apples, maybe. That'll probably just taste like cobbler with a scoop of ice cream on top. Not that would be a bad thing.

1 comment:

kat said...

Now that is a flavor that sounds really good.