You know that awful moment when you just can’t ignore your stomach growling at you anymore and you have to face the fact that, while you’re actually hungry, you’re just not in the mood for anything whatsoever? Believe me, the backwards-version of that is just as annoying and unsatisfying. While anything of the stereotype-bad-weather-food variety was backflipping in my head, my stomach also started backflipping since it evidently couldn’t agree with the whole hearty-and-warm shindig in my head at 7 a.m.
Groping around in my fridge for the milk bottle I encountered a packet of fromage blanc, completely inoffensive to my stomach at that point, which gave me the idea of making one of my favourite desserts at dinnertime. A creamy, fruity and slightly boozy bowl of mangoes following something savoury, probably stew-related, should satisfy both sides of my inner battle of cravings…
For 4-6 Servings you’ll need:
250g light Firm Fromage Blanc or Quark
250g light Cream Cheese
100ml light Whipping Cream
4Tbsp Liquor 43
¼ Tsp Turmeric
1-2 Tbsp runny Honey (have a taste of the cream with a bit of mango to judge)
400g ripe Mangoes, peeled, cored and cubed
Opt: 1 Tbsp Orange Liquor
1) Whip up the cream with a handheld until it’s fluffy, almost stiff. Unlike the full-fat version of cream, the light stuff doesn’t rise up as much and it looks softer in the bowl. Take out the whisks and check the consistency after about 2-3 mins, the peaks the whisks create should remain standing. Whisk a bit more if it’s still too runny. Stash the container holding the cream away in the fridge until you need it.
2) Mix the quark and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl until silky and smooth. Add the Liquor 43 and honey to the mix, and stir well again for a couple of minutes until everything has come together. Set the bowl into the fridge and chill until you’re ready to assemble the dish.
3) Peel and pit the mangoes. Here’s the tricky bit – finding perfectly ripe mangoes. They can be a little hard to judge because of their thick skins. Having dumped countless mangoes over the years I think this is a good time to, hopefully, spare you guys some grief and share my discoveries that have narrowed down my fail-rate to about 2/10.
In general you should look for the ones with a smooth and dull/matte skin that give off a faint mango-aroma near the stem. If the skin is lightly dotted with a few ~1-2 mm dark spots near that area it’s 100% ripe – use them the same day you bought them. The skin should also give a little at a touch.
Since the fruit beneath the skin bruises easily, mangoes are actually a bad candidate to ship around the whole world. This explains their pricing and the problems you might encounter once you start peeling them. If they are not perfectly handled and stored, mangoes go bad from the inside out, almost not notiable from the outside. They basically rot/ferment from the inside, starting at the pit, when they’re not being kept at the right temperatures or if they have been harvested too early – so using the touch-test won’t help you when that process hasn’t progressed through to the skin, it might come off as ripe but your mango is inedible anyways. Sometimes having a closer look at the stem-area helps with that since it’s closest to the pit inside. If there’s a brown-and-squishy spot or a fermented smell around that area, pick another one.
There’s two possible unpleasant surprises left I haven’t been able to steer clear of as of yet since there’s no indicator – that I know of – on the outside: stringy/fibrous ones with a kind of sour-and-stale taste to them (they were harvested way too early and can’t ripen anymore due to the lack of initial nutrients) and the ones with a wet-sponge consistency (those have been stored at the wrong temperatures, below 8°C or above 20°C) that’s really unpleasant to eat while there’s basically nothing else wrong with them – I use them for sorbets or smoothies instead. Following these pointers you should be able to net a couple of good mangoes. I still feel like bringing home a box of lottery tickets whenever I bought some mangoes though…
4) Blitz ½ of the mangoes and the (optional) orange liquor into a smooth puree with a stick blender and set the container aside for a couple of minutes.
5) Finely cube the other half of the mangoes and gently fold them into the quark mixture without squishing them too much.
6) Use a rubber spatula to fold in the whipped cream. The point of carefully folding in the cream is to retain the air bound inside cream to add a fluffy texture to the end result, hence the spatula (as opposed to a whisk or spoon).
7) Divide the puree into serving bowls or, for the showy version, wine/martini glasses.
8) Top the puree with the cream mixture and even out the surface.
9) Chill the bunch for 3 hours. If you’re in the mood, decorate the portions with a few mint leaves or additional mango cubes on top just before serving them.
10) Serve and enjoy~!
While I do need something sweet-ish to close a meal, I’m not really one for the fancy chocolaty or sugary types of deserts most of the time – normally a bunch of grapes or berries do the trick. Occasionally it has to be a real desert though. This is one of those perfect all-year-round bowls of happyness, light, fruity, low on fat (unless you use full-fat dairy on all counts) and sugar (apart from the natural sugar content of the mangoes). To top it all off it’s a real quick-fix, easily prepped in advance.
I hope you guys enjoy this one!