Consider the mango.
It is, according to sources, the most popular fruit on Planet Earth. Yet it remains a mystery to many people in the United States, what with it's rainbow-colored peel, and oddly hefty countenance. The mango is like the exotic stranger on the other side of the room. Everybody wants to meet her, but not everyone is brave enough to reach out and say, "Sà-wàt-dee".
Like that exotic stranger, once you get to know the mango you'll find that she's not so weird. Really, she's just like any other fruit. Mango is soft when ripe, sweetens with age, and is packed with fruity goodness.
You may also discover some things about mango that surprise you. For instance, mangos are on the Clean Fifteen list, meaning that conventional mangos have relatively low pesticide residue compared to other fruits. They are also loaded with nutritious components, like vitamin C, antioxidants, and folate.
Of course, those nutritional virtues are pretty much thrown out the window when combined with condensed milk, gingersnap cookies and butter. Oh well. Hopefully this little indulgence will be worth the calories.
Baking with mango can sometimes be a pain. The sweet flavor of mango is subtle, and can get lost within sweets and desserts. Kicking it up with citrus can help make mango flavor extra bold. Pairing it with warm and spicy flavors, like ginger or cinnamon, helps too. This dessert was inspired by classic Key Lime Pie. Instead of a graham crust, I used gingersnaps. Look for the crunchy kind for this recipe.
Disclaimer: The National Mango Board has been courting me with free mangos and cocktail parties. I'm weak and all, but please be assured that I wouldn't be cooking with mangos unless I actually liked them. This post was somewhat coaxed, but entirely unpaid.
Mango Dream Bars
Makes about nine bars
- 5 ounces gingersnap cookies
- 1/3 cup palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 (14 oz.) can condensed milk
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 2/3 cup pureed mango (takes 1 or 2 mangos)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the cookies, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the cookies have completely crumbled. Transfer the cookie crumb mixture to a mixing bowl, and stir together with the melted butter.
- Press the cookie mixture into the bottom of an 8" x 8" baking pan. If you can manage it, try to press some of the mixture up onto the sides of the pan too.
- Bake the crust in the oven for about 10 minutes. Set it aside to cool as you put together the custard.
- Cream the egg yolks and lime zest together using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. This will take about 5 minutes with the mixer, or 10-15 minutes by hand. You want the eggs to change color, becoming light, thick, and fluffy.
- While mixing on a low speed, add the lime juice and pureed mango. Mix well to combine, then pour the mixture into the baking pan, over the crust.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the custard sets. It should become slightly firm.
- Allow the bars to cool to room temperature, then cover and chill overnight in the fridge.
- Cut into bars, and serve garnished with whipped cream and a slice of lime or mango.
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