March 26, 2012

Mango pudding

We had quite a mild winter around here this year.  Aside from that unusual snow storm back in late October, it was fairly calm and practically balmy for much of the season.  After the very rough winter we had the prior year, I think we deserved it even if it did feel a bit odd.  And speaking of odd, the robins came back early and plenty of plants are already in bloom.  And I've been seeing spring and summer produce in serious abundance at the supermarket.  Mangoes were one thing that struck me.  Don't we typically come into the height of mango season some time around May/June around here?  But I've been seeing plenty of them since early March - and really good ones to boot.  (I expect to see watermelons soon at this rate.)
So when I was grocery shopping the other day, I stumbled upon some real good looking mangoes.  It made me want to make a big pot of mango sago for my husband as a little surprise that night (it's one of his favorite desserts that I learned how to make last summer).  But since I didn't have any mango juice at home or a place nearby to buy it, I opted for mango pudding.  It's another Asian dessert my husband likes and I've wanted to give it a try.  These mango puddings are made from a puree of fresh mangoes, mixed with some evaporated milk and sugar, and set with plain gelatin.
I think the flavor was on point with this mango pudding, thanks to some very sweet and ripe champagne mangoes (I think they're also called "Ataulfo" and by other names but the label on them says "champagne mango"; they are my favorite since they don't have much fiber).  But we found the texture a bit too dense.  I think I was a little too heavy-handed with the gelatin because I was afraid the pudding wouldn't set.  Next time around, I'd try easing up on it (I've adjusted the amount of gelatin in the recipe down a little).  Overall, I think this pudding is a nice spring or summertime dessert if you're looking to have a fruity treat or want to change up the dessert routine.  Maybe you have a big box of mangoes ripening quickly and need ideas to use them up.  But I have to admit that we much preferred the cold mango sago dessert soup over this pudding and when you have seriously good mangoes, you also can't beat just peeling it and taking a big bite.

I looked online and in books on Asian cuisine for mango pudding recipes.  What I wound up doing is what I consider a fairly recipe - no coconut milk, cream, or mango juice.  It's basically mangoes and some sweetened evaporated milk.
To start, you need 2 ripe, medium-size champagne mangoes.  Most recipes will have you puree the mango in a blender.  I don't have one so I used my food processor and it worked perfectly well.
Since these mangoes do not have a lot of fibers, I didn't worry about straining the mixture.
Take 1 1/2 tablespoons plain gelatin and mix it with 1/3 cup cold water.  Add another 1/3 cup of boiling water and mix together until the gelatin in completely dissolved.  Set it aside to cool for a few minutes. 
Take half a cup of evaporated milk and stir in 1/2 cup of sugar (I used superfine sugar so it dissolves more quickly but regular would be fine).  You can adjust the amount of sugar depending upon the sweetness of your mangoes.  Mix until the sugar is completely dissolved. 
Pour the mango puree into a mixing bowl, add the gelatin mixture.  Stir until fully combined.  Then add the sweetened evaporated milk, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and together mix thoroughly. 
Pour the mixture into custard cups or bowls.  It should yield 5 servings. 
Chill the pudding for at least 3 hours or until set. 


Mango Pudding
Adapted from various recipes such as this one and others

- Approximately 5 servings -

2 ripe medium-size mangoes (I like champagne mangoes), plus more for garnishing if desired
1 1/2 tablespoons plain gelatin
1/3 cup cold water plus 1/3 cup boiling water
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup superfine sugar*
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

* You can adjust the amount of sugar depending upon the sweetness of your mangoes.  You could also use regular sugar if you do not have superfine.  Just make sure it completely dissolves.

Peel and roughly chop the mangoes.  Place in a food processor or blender to puree until smooth.

Place the gelatin into a bowl and stir in the cold water.  Then add boiling water and stir together until the gelatin is thoroughly dissolved.  Set aside to cool a few minutes.

In a bowl, add sugar to the evaporated milk and stir until sugar is completely dissolved.

Place mango puree into a large mixing bowl.  Add the gelatin mixture and stir together to combine.  Add the sweetened evaporated milk and vanilla extract.  Stir the entire mixture together.  Pour into 5 custard cups or bowls.

Chill for at least 3 hours or until set.  Before serving, garnish with pieces of mangoes, if desired.  You could also serve it with a bit of evaporated milk poured over the top. 

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