Ode to the King of All Fruits: Mango!
Mango is incontestably the uncrowned King of all fruits in India. Mango is only available in the summer in India which makes Indian’s crave it even more. There are a few varieties across the country but for Delhites, Langda and Chausa captures their heart. Indians devour mangoes by the case when in season. And the most common way to savor them is by eating them plain. Mangoes is such a prized flavor that typically Indians in general don’t like to adulterate it by adding other flavors. Keeping that in mind I wanted to create a dish showcasing Mango as the highlight of the dish and where it doesn’t loose its delectable taste.
I love the ethereal lightness of a Meringue. Using it as a blank canvas; meringue offers the potential for endless possibilities. My family’s favorite summer dessert was named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova by a chef who wanted to create something “as light and ethereal as the dancer herself. It seemed natural for me to create a dish using meringue as the base. Here is my ode to Mangoes and Summer, creating a dish with the most indulgent ingredients in India: Mango, Saffron, Cardamom, and Pistachios.
Floating Islands with Spiced Mango-Anglaise & Pistachio Praline
- 3 large egg whites (room temperature, 25 minutes)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- pinch of tartar
Spiced Mango Anglaise:
- 1 cup milk
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or kewara water
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 1 whole mango, peeled and pureed
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup shelled toasted pistachios
Meringue: Beat the egg whites using a whisk on high-speed until soft peaks form. Sprinkle the sugar and tartar powder, beating at high-speed until firm and glossy. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spoon the meringue into desired molds, tapping the bottom so there are no air bubbles in the meringue. Bake for 20 minutes, until set. (They tend to get puffy, so add less).
Spiced Mango Anglaise: Put the milk, cornstarch, sugar, saffron, and cumin powder in a saucepan stirring till hot. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl.Temper little milk at a time with the eggs to make sure that eggs don’t scramble. Return mixture to heat and whisk till smooth. Strain the anglaise and stir in the cold cream. Add pureed mango and vanilla extract. Let cool.
Praline: Line baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Make the caramel sauce with sugar and water. Once golden color reaches remove from heat and add the pistachios. Stir until coated. Immediately pour mixture on the baking sheet and let cool completely. Grind a bit of praline and chop a few for garnish.
To Serve: Spoon Mango-Anglaise in individual serving plates, remove the meringue from the mold and place the small floating islands on top. Sprinkle with ground and chopped praline. If you have some fresh mint in the house, garnish with a few strands. Serve immediately.
Yes, the recipe is arduous to make but the textural inter-play between the luscious mango anglaise, feather light meringue, and crunchy pistachio praline transports you to the ultimate sweet haven. It literally is a party in your mouth with each bite.Keep in mind that all the components can be made ahead of time. And the assembly takes only a matter of seconds.
Try it! this might end up being your most cherished dessert especially when you want to impress that someone special.
Note: Buy the ripest and best mango you can find for this recipe. For extra crunch, you can add some chopped praline to the meringue before baking too.