May is an in-between fruit month. We're tired of winter apples, pears and oranges, and summer stone fruits aren't yet in season, though some varieties are now available in California because of the hot winter. It's a great time to think about mangoes because the varieties that we find in the supermarket are in season. Most are imported from Mexico, Haiti and Central America, and some are grown in Florida.
It can take a few days for them to ripen, but when they do, they are sweet and juicy.
I had sorbet in mind when I brought home mangoes recently. I wasted no time blending them with a lime syrup; I let the mix chill overnight, then froze it in my ice cream maker the next morning. (Sorbets are so easy.)
This sorbet is tangy and not very sweet. I added only enough sugar and corn syrup to allow the mixture to freeze properly without developing ice crystals.
Then, I set out to make something more like a sherbet, a mango lassi ice. I calculated the amount of sweetening I would need to get the right texture and flavor in a blend of buttermilk and mango. As a general rule, the sugar in fruit ice should be 15 to 20 percent of the weight of the fruit. This time, I used honey instead of sugar. The result is a creamy, tangy sherbet. I like it so much that I've been eating it for breakfast.
Mango Lime Sorbet
Time: 10 minutes, plus overnight rest and about 25 minutes in ice cream maker
Yield: 1 quart, serving 5 to 6
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
4 cups (750 grams) diced mango (3 to 4 large mangoes)
2/3 cup (150 grams) fresh lime juice (about 6 limes)
2 tablespoons (50 grams) corn syrup
1. Combine 1/2 cup water and sugar in a small saucepan and stir. Bring to a simmer and simmer until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.
2. Combine all ingredients in a blender and purée until completely smooth. Transfer to a bowl or container and chill overnight in refrigerator.
3. (Chill a 1-quart container in the freezer while you spin the sorbet.) Remove bowl from refrigerator and blend the mango purée again for 1 to 2 minutes in a blender or with an immersion blender. Add to ice cream maker and spin for about 25 minutes. Transfer to chilled container and freeze for 2 hours or longer to pack.
4. Once frozen solid, allow to soften in refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.
Assessing Size and Flavor of Different Mangoes
I wanted to compare mangoes and found three varieties at markets within walking distance of my house: Tommy Atkins, Haden and Ataulfo.
The most commonly available is the Tommy Atkins, which I found at my local supermarket and can be had at nearby national chains. It is the large green and red mango that becomes more red and yellow as it ripens.
I had trouble finding ripe Tommy Atkins at the market, whereas the other varieties were ripe on the shelves. Given enough time to soften, it is delicious; the fruit is a bit fibrous but has good depth of flavor with sweet-tart nuances. The Tommy Atkins also has a good fruit-to-seed ratio, yielding about 1 1/2 cups of fruit each.
Hadens, which I found at a local Indian market, look like the Tommy Atkins variety, but they are more red-yellow than green (perhaps because what I found was already ripe). They are comparable in size, at a little over a pound each, and yield about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups of fruit. But I found the flavor a bit dull compared with the other varieties.
Ataulfos are yellow and small (about 7 ounces each), and were ripe on the supermarket shelves. They cost more than the Hadens and the Tommy Atkins and yield about half the amount of fruit (about 2/3 cup), but they had better flavor and texture. The taste is deep with a slight tang, and there are virtually no fibers.
© 2015 New York Times News Service