Our annual desi love affair with the aam or mango is passionate, real and short.
Come mango season we all sing, eat, dance, speak, devour and breathe mangoes. The renowned poet Mirza Ghalib best understood our relationship with this reigning emperor of fruits. “In my view,” said Ghalib, “there are only two essential points about mangoes — they should be sweet and they should be plentiful.”
First eaten some 4,000 years ago, the mango, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, “is inextricably connected with the folklore and religious ceremonies of the subcontinent. Buddha himself was presented with a mango grove that he might find repose in its grateful shade. The name mango […] is most likely derived from the Malayam, manna, which the Portuguese adopted as manga when they came to Kerala in 1498 for the spice trade. Probably because of the difficulty in transporting seeds (they retain their viability for a short time only), the tree was not introduced into the Western Hemisphere until about 1700, when it was planted in Brazil; it reached the West Indies in the year 1740.”
The two recipes I share with you today are delicious, and will be a sure hit with family and friends. Here they are, from my kitchen to yours. Be sure to make try them when it’s still summer and the mango reigns.
There’s nothing aam about this summer fruit!
Mango Pound Cake
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup plus 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1½ cup chopped peeled mango
½ cup chopped pecans
Confectioners’ sugar and whipped topping, optional
In a small bowl, beat sugar, oil and eggs. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and gradually beat into the sugar mixture, mixing well. Fold in the chopped mango and pecans.
Transfer to a 9-inch greased baking pan. Bake at 375°C for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Let it sit for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack. Cool completely, garnish with confectioners’ sugar and whipped topping. Enjoy!
Mango Banoffee Pie
6 to 6 ½ oz crushed Graham crackers
3 oz. butter
4 perfectly ripe mangoes
14 oz. can of condensed milk
(Note: Seal the condensed milk — in its original can — and boil in a full pot of water for four to five hours until the condensed milk turns to caramel. Please ensure that the can is submerged in boiling water for the entire length of time it is set on the stove to boil. Keep on adding more water as it evaporates and ensure the water does not run out in the boiling pot, since that will cause the can to explode and can be dangerous. I usually boil several cans and freeze them, so they are ready to use as a quick and easy dessert when needed.) 1 pint heavy whipping cream (or double crème).
Optional, for decoration Crushed graham crackers Chocolate shavings A dash of coffee powder Castor sugar to taste to be added to whipping cream while whipping (Note: I prefer not to add it since there is enough sweetness in the caramel, mangoes and crust. The unsweetened whipped cream deliciously balances out the sweetness of the pie.)
Mix graham crackers and melted butter in a food processor, form pie crust by pressing down the pastry at the base of a pie dish and set in fridge to chill for half-an-hour to one hour. Once the crust is chilled, slice four mangoes and set on the crust, pour caramel (add a dash of milk to make the caramel consistency spreadable, maintaining the thickness), beat whipping cream until it forms soft peaks. Pour on caramel and decorate if desired. Store in the refrigerator to set.
Originally published in Dawn, EOS, July 2nd, 2017