Every April and May, I repeatedly face defeat. There are only so many Alphonso mangoes I can eat in a day without breaking into spots or worse. I don’t buy these in wimpy wee bags either, I carry home a boxful. The appearance of wrinkles round the fat end is stressing me out; I am on salvage-mode. The only time I ‘cook’ an Alphonso mango is if there is no other recourse left. My no-custard Mango & Coconut Ice cream is a proven winner, but it just might be gazumped by this gutsy yet smoooooooth operator.
Morfudd Richards of the Lola’s Ice Cream and Sundaes fame has given me another reason to do jumping jacks with Jillian Michaels with this winner of a recipe. I’m all about sharing the love (and the fat) so, I give this to you. Now, I am aware that there is an EU ban on the Alphonso mangoes, which grieves me greatly. However, though I will always consider this variety to be the emperor of tropical fruit, you can still make this with any other mango variety so long as it’s not those shockingly insipid imported, available year-round Kenyan ones. Seek out fruit from the Philippines, Thailand or any other major producer that isn’t banned by the EU (we live in hope). And make sure they are perfectly ripe, slightly over ripe even. The quantity here doesn’t produce a massive tub of ice cream – an eyeball estimate of six good servings.
Make a sugar syrup, blitz it with ripe, soft, sweet and succulent Alphonso mango, chill and churn. Oh, there’s Passionfruit juice added to this neon orange sludge which just takes it to tropical flavoured paradise on the tastebuds. Yes, this sickly, pandering talk is a result of a wonderful mango sorbet brain freeze. Bear with me.
The sugar syrup is a simple combination of equal weight of sugar and water (with lemon juice if you like) cooked till it’s slightly thickened and left to cool completely. You can make this in advance and the syrup can be stored in the fridge for a month ensuring future ice treats are a breeze to make. In this recipe, glucose syrup is added as well and it contributes rather a lot, which Richards explains in detail. Firstly, it prevents the crystallisation of sucrose (or regular sugar) which contributes to a smooth ice treat. Secondly, it makes the texture chewier and firmer which really works beautifully in this sorbet; there’s body to this ice. Third, it lengthens the sensation of sweetness which goes far in an ice cream or sorbet where the freezing naturally lowers the sucrose sweetness level. And lastly, it lowers the freezing point of the ice cream and because of that, the ice cream will be softer. In short, I recommend you’d grab a wee bottle off the supermarket shelf.
After the mango pulp is blitzed with the syrup, you will need to strain the mix through a fine mesh sieve. With Alphonso, which are a particularly fibrous variety, this goes a long way in contributing to the undisturbed, smooth, silky final result. Sieve the passionfruit pulp too and add to the sunset orange mix. After a couple of hours of maturing in the fridge, it’s ready to churn. I went full throttle and made this sorbet in one morning, but you could easily divide the various stages over days, fitting it around your schedule. Even when done in a morning, it never felt bitty and laborious.
My family went mad for this ice and The Scotsman was particularly complimentary. You get all the lush, full-on, tropical scent and flavour of the Alphonso mango and the fruity acidity of the Passionfruit just enhanced it. I usually find sorbets a little disappointing in texture as it always seems to lack body, which this one, emphatically, does not. It’s thick but not dense, it’s firm but seductively yielding and there’s a chew to it which is rather delightful. There’s a wonderful harmony in its contrasts.
This first tub has long finished and the children, while sucking on a mango with juices escaping the corners of their mouths, demanded I make another batch. Which I did and I tell you, it’s even better the second time round. And the third…and…
Mango & Passionfruit Sorbet
From Lola’s Ice Creams & Sundaes by Morfudd Richards”
Stock Syrup (makes about 800gm):
500gm caster sugar
juice of one lemon or 1 tso cream of tartar (optional)
In a pan, dissolve the sugar and water over a low heat and then let it slowly come to a boil. Add the lemon juice or cream of tartar if using. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes until it thickens and becomes slightly viscous.
Strain, cool and store in a sealed container in the fridge for a month.
For the Sorbet
1 tbsp glucose syrup, optional
200g of the stock syrup, cooled
2-3 ripe mangoes, approx 500-600g of mango pulp
6-7 wrinkly passion fruit, approx 110g seedless pulp
If you are using the glucose syrup, heat it in a pan with 200g of the stock syrup, till it dissolves and leave aside to cool.
Peel the mangoes, remove the stone and cut the flesh in smallish pieces. Put it into a blender along with the cooled stock syrup and blend till smooth. Strain this mix through a fine mesh sieve.
Halve the passionfruit, scoop the pulp out and strain, pressing it through the sieve firmly with a rubber spatula. Combine this juice with the mango mix. If you can, put this into the fridge for a couple of hours, so that the flavours can mature.
Churn in an ice cream machine until firm or according to manufacturer’s instructions or using the still freezing method below. Decant to a sealed container, smooth the top and place waxed or greaseproof paper over the surface to prevent ice crystals from forming. Place in the freezer until needed.
Let it soften a little before scooping and serving.
Still freezing method : Place the cold unchurned mix into your sealed container and put into the coldest part of your freezer for around an hour and a half. Take it out and beat it either with a fork or electric whisk, breaking up the ice crystals to make a uniform slush. Return to the freezer and repeat this process twice at 1.5 hour intervals. After the third beating, return to the freezer for another hour or so and it should be ready to serve. Note that hand beating this way will not produce a completely light and smooth product but it will still be pretty darn good!