21 July 2007

Mango Pudding

I needed to find a way to use up my mangoes. The first thing that came to my mind was mango pudding, because it only takes 30 minutes of active time. After I'd seen this excellent picture on the internet, I knew I had to do it. I did some research on the dessert, and it turns out it's a Hong Kong creation, and you know how I love to name my desserts in the language from where they originated. No dice. Mango pudding in Hanyu Pinyin is mang guo bu dian (I didn't copy the actual characters so as not to put most people's browsers on the fritz), which if you say it out loud, is evident in its meaning. No depth. But the dessert itself is quite a treat despite its simplicity. (Recipe follows)
Mango Pudding
I originally wanted to add small sago (tapioca) pearls to the pudding for interest (visually) and chewiness, but I thought it might mar the smooth surface, plus cooking it involves 15 minutes of boiling with constant stirring and cooling for a long time. So now I have a bag of sago I don't know what to do with (maybe make sago and gulaman [agar-agar]? So, no pearl necklace for my dessert.

All the recipes I've looked over the internet are pretty much the same, but I simplified the process, and also avoided boiling water so as not to denature the gelatin. Sprinkle 2 packets of gelatin (about 2 tablespoons) into a mixture of 180mL (3/4 cup) water and 150mL (2/3 cup) evaporated milk at room temperature in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl and set aside to bloom. Scoop out the flesh of 2 mangoes (weighing a total of 700-1000g, pits and all) into a blender with 240mL (1 cup) of mango juice or mango nectar. Purée for a minute or until lump-free. By this time the particles of gelatin will have swelled. Stir the milk-gelatin liquid gently to distribute then microwave on HIGH for 45 seconds, avoiding boiling the mixture. Stir the liquid until it appears homogenous and the gelatin is dissolved. Strain using a fine sieve into a bowl with a spout to remove any remaining lumps. With the sieve still over the bowl, dump the purée through it into the bowl to remove any unprocessed mango fibers (push the purée with the back of a spoon if it moves through the sieve sluggishly). Stir thoroughly. Taste the mixture; it will probably taste dilute, so you may add superfine sugar (I just used regular granulated sugar, since the ambient temperature was 33°C) to taste. I was able to add 1/4 cup of sugar without making the mixture cloyingly sweet. Pour or ladle the mixture into individual ramekins or dessert cups and leave to set in the back of the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until it no longer jiggles in the middle.

You may want to use low-fat milk as a substitute for evaporated milk, if you want the dessert a bit healthier and less rich, and more fruity.

Garnish as you wish. I used maraschino cherry halves carved into hearts so I can show off the smooth surface of the pudding (I considered using a fan of mango slices also). I also dropped a whole cherry into the bottom of some cups, but I found the pudding was too opaque to really show it off.

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