Monday, July 30, 2007

Taste of the Tropics

My dream home would have an enormous kitchen well-stocked with every gadget, a self-growing garden, and bookshelves on every available square foot of wall space. I love books. Not just cookbooks, but fiction, fact, and in between. As a homeschooler I buy books like 101 Fun Science Experiments You Can Do at Home With Aluminum Foil and Peanut Butter and The Rise and Fall of Mesopotamia. As a fiction reader, I devour mysteries. And as a baker I have a hard time restraining myself when it comes to any cookbook with wonderful pictures.

I have a special fondness for good children's books and one of my childhood favorites that I read and reread till the corners got dog-eared was the classic, Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink. It's a charming story about 2 girls who get stranded on a desert island with a boatload of babies. It's the perfect read for any pre-teen girl who's in the "Awwww, a baby!" phase.

One of the things that mystified me in the book was the mention of breadfruit. What was this? According to the book it grew on trees, but was it shaped like a loaf of bread? Did it taste like bread? Did the flowers emit the seductive smell of fresh-baked bread? I never knew the answer until my husband and I were on a vacation in Maui. Walking around, soaking up the sights, I fairly shrieked aloud when I read a historical marker plaque telling that the gigantic tree there was a breadfruit tree. I picked up one of the fruit and had my picture taken with it, so pleased was I to finally meet a breadfruit.

Another fruit I had read about but never tasted was mango. I know, a collective gasp of astonishment goes up. I'm aware that it's probably the most popular fruit in the world, but in the desert climate I grew up in, there weren't a lot of mango groves. It wasn't until recently that I tried a mango. After all I'd heard about mangoes, I expected a lot, but wasn't immediately sold. It's a strong flavor that takes a bit of getting used to. In fact, in researching, I found that there is a small amount of naturally occuring kerosene in mangoes, some varieties more than others. Now kerosene is not an item I stock in my spice cupboard. So it was only because I was on a Perfect Scoop roll that I plucked up two mangoes at the market and whipped up this sorbet.

It went together really easily, and I think if you like mangoes you'd love this sorbet. David Lebovitz suggests pairing it with raspberry sherbet and I think I'd enjoy it more with something to cut the intensity of the flavor. My family had texture issues with it. Maybe it was the mangos I used, but there was a certain stringy, pulpy consistency to it. Anyway, this is my offering for Alpineberry's Tropical Paradise Sugar High Friday. For me a mango is the second best way to say "tropical." My grocery store doesn't carry breadfruit.

Mango Sorbet
- adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

2 large, ripe mangoes (about 2 pounds or 1 kg)
2/3 cup (130 g) sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) water
4 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more to taste
1 Tbsp dark rum
Pinch of salt

Peel the mangoes and cut the flesh away from the pit. Cut the flesh into chunks and throw them in a blender with the sugar, water, lime juice, rum, and salt. Squeeze the mango pits hard over the blender to extract as much of the pulp and juice as possible. They're slippery at this point, so be wary of mango-pit missiles!

Puree the mixture until smooth. Taste, then add more lime juice or rum, if desired. Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Serve with coconut sprinkled on top for an extra taste of paradise, or with a raspberry sauce.


Anonymous said...

Mangoes have such a tangy sweet flavor. It is a good topic for sorbet. Breadfruit is more like a potato. Mash it and add a lot of gravy; be prepared for leftovers...

Jerry said...

I guess I grew up to fast for the "Ahhh baby phase!" By age 10 I was reading Hemingway and when I think tropics, I think of "Lord of the Flies." But no matter, I'd eat mango sorbet any day.

Cheryl said...

Looks beautiful, light and delicious.

Anonymous said...

I have never had a fresh mango in Oregon when I was growing up there.
I eat it now, about twice a week here in rural England! (probably loads of air miles to boot!)
My favourite tropical fruit is the paw-paw. My father in law had fresh growing ones on the farm in South Africa. They were so delicious, Lynn!
Isn't Bread fruit trees the payload that The Bounty (as in Mutiny on the Bounty) was bringing back from their journey to England? Guess they never brought many back as I haven't seen anything made from Breadfruit... or if they did the Brits tried to fry it and it tasted too awful.

Anh said...

Lynn, my dream house is very similar to yours! Perhaps we can become neighbour one day? *wink*

Now, that mango sorbet looks wonderful. Perfect for summer really. :)

And if one day you can come to Hanoi in summer, I will bring you to lychee garden. It's a paradise for fruit lover!

Anne said...

I too dream of having a big kitchen just in case we finally get our own house but living here in Singapore were houses are just a few square feet I really doubt it. I could only wish!

I love and adore mangoes. This sorbet is just perfect. Mangoes really differ in texture, taste, shape and color depending what country it originated. So far of all the mangoes I've tasted Thai Honey mangoes are one of the best and not no mention Philippine mangoes wherein mangoes are fragrant, sweet and not at all fibrous.

Anonymous said...

July 31st here already, and I am up early to go to work.
Happy Birthday to you! Hope you have a lovely day Lynn!
Cheers, Melinda Pickworth

Alpineberry Mary said...

Thanks for posting your mango sorbet for SHF. The color is so vibrant I can almost taste it!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Mangoes remind me of my childhood, Lynn, so this sorbet is twice as good to me!

Blue Zebra said...

Hi Lynn! I love your story about the breadfruits! My favorite stories at the pre-teen age were about Nancy Drew *blush*. Gosh I sure wanted to be her when I grew up!

Love your site and your ice creams and sorbets look TDF! I agree about mangoes being best when paired with some contrast. I love mangoes and heat and mangoes and crisp as in toile cookies!

(I added you to my site! TY!)

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Dianne - Good to know. I think I'm not craving breadfruit anymore.

Jerry - Lord of the Flies? Euwww! I don't want to know what you consider the Taste of the Tropics!

Cheryl - Thanks!

Melinda - You're quite the tropical gal, there in England. Good breadfruit trivia!

Anh - I love the idea of being neighbors. I guess my dream house would have to be surrounded by baking buddies.

Anne - Thanks for the good mango tips. I'll check next time I shop and see if they're labeled for origin.

Melinda - Awww, you're so sweet! I read your note in the midst of baking my birthday cake. I'll post it tomorrow.

Mary - Thanks!

Patricia - Childhood treats are the best because you get treat plus sweet memories.

Blue Zebra - Thanks so much for stopping by. I loved Nancy Drew, too. She rocks! Thanks for the kind words and the link, too.

Anonymous said...


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

mango sorbet = perfect treat on a hot summer's day. looks absolutely lovely! :0)

WokandSpoon said...

I looovvveee mangos but unfortunately, haven't had any nices ones since I've been in Europe! Breadfruit?? I've never heard/seen it - I'll definitely have to look that one up!

Kelly-Jane said...

Mango sorbet is so much more than the ingredients in it, it's a trip to the tropics, I think anyway! Lovely.

Burçin'in Denemeleri said...

Looks soo beautiful Lynn.

Thistlemoon said...

Oh man! This looks divine! I adore mango sorbet!

SteamyKitchen said...

I bought mangoes today to ripen specifically for this!!!

I'll let u know how yummy it is

Anonymous said...

Dad loves the mango ice cream! Thank you! (So do I)
Also, I am very excited to use the smoothie maker you lent me!!!!!!