There is nothing more tropical than the sweet flavor and perfumed fragrance of ripened mangoes. Add to that the creamy texture and delicate flavor of coconut milk and you are all set for paradise. If I were stuck on a deserted island, I would happily subsist on these two complimentary fruits. Mangoes when fresh and perfectly ripe have golden buttery flesh that may sometimes be pulpy and fibrous. They are fine eaten just as is, sliced from the large oblong pit, but are even better when made into a fruit drink or dessert.
I've been wanting to make ice cream all year long, hoping for that optimal moment when inspiration would strike. This summer seemed to be just the right time to make the frozen treat. But I wasn't sure what flavor I'd make. After one failed attempt at making chocolate frozen yogurt a year ago, my ice cream maker has been sitting in its box begging to be used. The machine and I were waiting for that moment when an ingredient would call to us. Just last week I discovered trays of overripe mangoes at the supermarket on discount. I knew right away for what I'd be using them.
Ice cream making is the perfect solution for turning mangoes into a unique dessert, especially when the fruit is overripe. Once puréed, the mango mixture can be used alone or combined with other fruits and/or preparations to make sorbet, sherbet, or ice cream. In this combination, coconut milk is used to round out the tropical flavors. A touch of cardamom is added for a Southeast Asian kick. Then a custard base is made before all the ingredients are combined, chilled, and churned in the ice cream maker. There are a number of steps involved, but the end result is worth the time spent in the kitchen.
Mango-Coconut Ice Cream
3 ripe mangoes
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground green cardamom
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
Slice each mango lengthwise on both sides of the pit. Remove the flesh with a large spoon, discarding the skin. Scrape any flesh from the pit. In a blender, purée mangoes until smooth. Press mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl, discarding remaining pulp. There should be about 1-1/2 cups of puréed mangoes.
To the strained mangoes, add coconut milk, lime juice, vanilla extract, and cardamom.
For the custard base, combine milk and heavy cream in a saucepan; bring to a boil.
In a medium bowl, beat together the egg yolks, starch, and sugar until light and creamy. To the bowl, slowly pour the hot liquid. Whisk vigorously to prevent curdling.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and warm over low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, up to 10 minutes.
Strain custard through a fine-mesh sieve set over the mango-coconut mixture. Stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 to 4 hours.
Transfer mixture to ice cream maker and churn for 30 to 40 minutes depending on the machine. Transfer to a large container, such as a loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until hard, about 12 hours or overnight. Yield: 2 quarts.