Thursday, 22 June 2017

easy, no-churn mango ice cream for a ramadhan heatwave

It’s nearing the end of Ramadhan, the Muslim holy month where fasting commences from dawn to dusk for thirty days. As is customary, people break their fasts with family and friends and come sunset there’s a table laden with all manner of goodies from savouries to sweets. Fasts are often broken with water and a date, followed by a soup or stew before you get stuck into the feasting. And Ramadhan just wouldn’t be Ramadhan without the sharing of food with practically everyone you know! Last weekend we had family over for iftar and various cousins brought over Bengali sweets, jackfruit and boxes of mangoes. With mango season being in full swing in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh we’re lucky enough to have fresh imports coming in

We’ve mostly had Indian mangoes this year, called kesar (saffron) mangoes and they are just divine. Saffron-yellow skinned with deep saffron orange flesh. Smooth and pudding like, they are very sweet when ripe with a distinct flavour and fragrance that cannot be compared with the usual mangoes found in supermarkets. The kitchen is filled with the gentle scent of this gorgeous fruit. Of course they’re delicious as they are but I do love to enjoy mine (as do a lot of Bengalis!) with rice and cream. I always associate mango, rice and cream with suhoor, the last meal of the day, just before sunrise.

When I was young we’d sometimes have tinned mangoes – over-sweet pieces of fruit steeped in syrup, nothing like the real thing so we always relished the fresh variety, which is not just a fruit but carries with it a strong association of my Bengali heritage and culture. Because we had an abundance of them and there's a heatwave I decided to make mango ice cream! I’m a bit old fashioned when it comes to gadgets so I don’t own an ice cream machine – or many machines and decided to do a no-churn version that so easy to make. This recipe is a bit time consuming but I’m telling you it’s absolutely worth the effort. To enjoy the best mango flavour do try and pop over to your local Asian grocery store and see if you can get some Indian or Pakistani mangoes. Other varieties just don’t impart the same taste.

Ingredients (makes around 2 litres)
450g mango pulp from about 3 mangoes
1 397g can condensed milk
560ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs icing sugar
2-3 drops of yellow food colouring (optional)

Add the mango pulp into a blender and blend for about 1 minute, until smooth. Transfer into a mixing bowl and pour in the condensed milk. Stir together until well combined and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl add the double cream, vanilla and icing sugar and whip either with a hand mixer or a stand mixer until you have stiff peaks – about 4 minutes.

Now pour in the mango mixture and add the food colour (if using) and gently fold into the whipped cream with a spatula or large spoon, until you have a smooth and creamy mixture. Either pour into a 2 litre freeze proof container with a lid, or two 1 litre containers and seal with the lids.

Place in your freezer for 45 minutes and then carefully remove and whisk/beat with a whisk or spatula for about a minute, making sure to incorporate the harder bits as they begin to set. You will notice slight crystallisation around the edges. Beating the ice cream prevents ice crystals from forming and creating an icy (hard!) and grainy texture. Place back in the freezer and repeat 4-5 times at 45 minute intervals.

Make sure to freeze at least 8 hours in total. Remove from the freezer at least 15 minutes before serving as it’ll be easier to scoop. 

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