This year, like the last one, has been about holding things that make you happy, closer. It is no surprise, then, that I was ready to latch myself onto an “aam ki peti” as soon as mango season arrived.
It seems like I was not the only one, as home-based bakers and restaurants in Karachi rushed to add mango-themed desserts to their menus as soon as the first mango of the season was sighted.
Here are some of my favourite mango-based food items that I ended up trying, ranked for you.
10. Mango sponge cake
Having this immediately took me back to my childhood when I had pineapple cream cakes. Layers of soft vanilla sponge cake alternating between layers of fresh cream and chopped up mangoes — what’s not to like? This is definitely a classic and would appeal to people who grew up having fruit and cream cakes.
I tried it from: Dolly’s Delicacies
9. Mango jam
I layered this over toasts, scones and even dunked a cracker in it once — it just works. The best thing about this jam was that the flavour of the mangoes wasn’t camouflaged by the sugar in it.
I tried it from: Danny’s Foods
Price: Rs450 a jar
8. Mango eclairs
This was one of the more innovative takes on a mango dessert. Choux pastry stuffed with mango custard filling and then topped with even more mangoes. Quite the summer party — for one!
I tried it from: Pinch & Co
7. Mango blueberry trifle
The reason why this dessert makes it to my list of favourite mango desserts is because of the uncommon mango and blueberry combination. Think sweet and tart. The play of these flavours took a seemingly simple trifle dessert to the next level.
I tried it from: Zoya Marri, Thyme
6. Danish pastry with mangoes
Test Kitchen by Okra definitely knows its croissants and pastries. This one is flaky, sweet and topped with a custard filling and fresh mangoes. This particular dessert didn’t incorporate the mangoes as heavily as the others but that’s what made it enjoyable. A bit of pastry and a bit of mangoes — win win.
I tried it from: Test Kitchen By Okra
5. Mango shake
I distinctly remember having this while out on a drive and my mind went, “whoa!”. This was a rich, thick blend of chopped up chilled mangoes with just the right amount of milk. One of my pet peeves with shakes is that people tend to dilute it with a lot of milk and water — but that wasn’t the case here. This is a must-have.
I recommend you have it from: The kiosk next to Mehran Spot in Bahadurabad
4. Mangoes with sticky rice
This dessert would especially help those missing the popular street food from Thailand. The sticky rice here is drizzled with sweet coconut sauce and served with fresh mangoes.
Neha Qayyum Maew, who takes orders on her page Cooking By Neha, says she uses pandan leaves that she grows at home to add fragrance to the sticky rice.
I tried it from: Cooking By Neha
3. Mango habanero sauce
When you think of mangoes, you aren’t necessarily thinking of spice. This sauce will help you make that connection in an unforgettable way. The mango habanero has noticeable heat from the spicy red chillies in it but also has an underlying sweetness from the mangoes — the yin and yang you didn’t know you needed in your life. As far as innovation goes, this definitely topped the list for us.
“Last summer during lockdown, we received a batch of the most amazing mangoes from my mother-in-law, from the mango trees in her house,” says Adnan Katchi, the founder of The Sauce Company. “We had more than we could possibly eat so decided to experiment with the rest. It turned out perfect — sweet and hot,” he says. “That was the start of our mango habanero,”
I tried it from: The Sauce Company
2. Mango tres leches
If you're looking for a mango dessert that says comfort like nothing else — a mango three milk cake is it. Sponge cake soaked with a flavourful milk mixture and then topped with chilled mangoes? Even just cutting a slice from this cake is very satisfying. While there isn’t much innovation happening in this particular dessert, it ranks pretty high for the sheer joy it brings.
Places to order from: The Imperial Cakes or Loaf Out Loud
Prices: Rs2,500, Rs2,200 respectively
1. Mango Peshawari ice cream
And now for the very best — mango ice cream from Peshawari Ice Cream is THE mango dessert that I look forward to having every year. The reasonable price point of the ice cream means that you can order this quite often — whenever cravings strike. The ice creams do not have a synthetic taste and actually hide real mango chunks in the middle, which is always a delight to discover. You simply can’t go wrong with this.
Recommended outlets: Saddar and Phase IV, DHA
Price: Rs130 to Rs150, depending on which branch you are having it from.
You can always count on Karachi to keep things interesting food-wise. Which mango desserts were your favourites this season?