Green Mango Mulberry Crisp

Green Mangoes and bicycle in Hanoi

At this time of year in Hanoi, green mangoes are everywhere. Not that I want to escape them but it seems that I can’t go two hundred feet without coming across a woman from the country side standing beside her bicycle with a bamboo basket full of green mangoes. Each green mango laden bicycle I pass prompts me to mull over potential recipes and flavor combinations. Should it be a spicy, Thai inspired salad, always a favourite or a small batch of sweet sour Indian green mango chutney equally good for an Indian meal or as an accompaniment for some good cheese or grilled meat?

Last week my wife had informed me that we were off to our friend’s house for dinner and that we needed to take dessert. That day was already quite packed and so I needed something quick and easy to make. Coming back from the market on my trusty red Vespa I spotted a basket of the elusive burgundy, scarlet and claret berries for which I had been keeping my eye out. The beginning of green mango season coincides with the very short mulberry season and so upon spotting the more difficult to find berries I immediately knew what I was going to make.

Mulberries in springtime

I bought a few handfuls of the mulberries and 3 green mangoes from another vendor just a few yards away and I was set. Keeping in mind that the dish would need to be child friendly, I decided to add a couple of apples to the mix. I had tricked my kids earlier in the week by serving them a green mango mint cooler, aam pudina panna, by leaving out the ‘green’ in the name but I wasn’t sure that they were going to want to eat this dessert if there wasn’t something in the title that they were familiar. Plus, I wanted something slightly sweet to counter the tartness from the green mangoes and the mulberries. The apples would also add some needed pectin to the dish. To the crust I added some freshly grated coconut to bring a tropical nuttiness to the dish.

In the end the older kids, ages 8, 10 and early 40s devoured the dessert but the two 5 year olds weren’t so interested. Don’t make the mistake I did which was forgetting some vanilla ice cream to disguise fact that there were some fruits the younger kids weren’t fully comfortable with. If you are living outside of Asia for the next few months you should be able to find some green mangoes at your local Asian shops. As different berries, or even rhubarb, come in season you can easily substitute them for the mulberries.

Green Mango Mulberry Crisp
Serves: 8
  • 2 cups mulberries
  • 2 pounds (1 kg.) or 3 whole green mangoes
  • 2 sweet apples
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant or pearl tapioca (or substitute same amount of tapioca flour or regular flour)
Crisp Topping
  • ⅓ cup oats
  • ½ cup grated coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F/ 190C.
  2. Cut off any small twigs, if any, from the mulberries. Fill a large bowl with water, add the berries and swish them around gently with your hands to loosen any dirt. Wait a minute for the dirt particles to sink to the bottom and using a slotted spoon, spider or your hands remove the mulberries to a waiting dish. Drain the water, rinsing away any settled dirt and wash the mulberries one more time. Drain well and set the mulberries in a large bowl.
  3. Peel the green mangoes and cut around the large flat pit to get two halves plus a few other smaller pieces. Cut the halves and other pieces into 1 ½ inch cubes. Place over the mulberries in the large bowl.
  4. Peel and core the apples and cut the apples into 1 inch cubes. (Note: the mango chunks should be larger than the apples so that the more tender mango pieces do not overcook by the time the apple pieces are soft and tender) Add to bowl of cut fruit.
  5. Sprinkle the sugar and tapioca pearls, or flour if using, over the fruit and gently toss to mix well. Transfer the mixture to an 8 by 11 inch baking dish (or one that holds the 8 cups of cut fruit).
  6. In a medium bowl, toss the oats with the coconut, flour, white and brown sugars, and cinnamon. Grate the butter, using the large holes of a grater, over the flour mixture. Alternatively you can cut the butter into ½ inch cubes and toss into the flour mixture. Using your fingertips, mix the butter until the topping has pea-sized crumbs. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the fruit.
  7. Place the filled baking dish onto a tray and into the middle level of the preheated oven. Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the fruit is starting to bubble around the edges of the dish.
  8. Let the crisp cool for 30 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream (vanilla or ginger) or whipped cream.




Add Some Citrus and Spice to Enhance Classic Shortbread

Shortbread and ingredientsButtery, crisp, melt in the mouth shortbread is a wonderful classic cookie at any time of year. My mother would make them at Christmas and garnish them with half a maraschino cherry. Sometimes it’s great just to have something simple like this with a tea but other times I like to look at shortbread as a canvas in which you can add different flavors using citrus zests, herbs or spices. Click here for a link to a few shortbread recipes I provided for the holidays on Zester Daily.

Maple Walnut Kulfi

maple walnut kulfiI like ice cream. No. I LOVE ice cream.  So much so, that I cannot keep it in my house.  I have been known, on too many occasions, to wake up in the middle of the night for a small taste and then realize that I have finished entire pint. Perhaps that is why I like kulfi, also known as ‘ice candy’, the Indian version of ice cream.  Kulfi is made by evaporating the water from milk, then sweetening and flavouring it before it is frozen.  This process creates a dense frozen dessert which thaws much slower than traditional custard based whipped ice creams. In the street, the kulfiwallah serves it on a stick, like a popsicle, but in high end restaurants it is offered as an element of a dessert.

When living in Delhi I was asked to cater an event which highlighted Canadian products. The warm season had arrived and I felt that a uniquely Canadian kulfi needed to finish the meal. Maple syrup and walnuts came to mind and so maple walnut kulfi was created.

With milk being the key ingredient I think it is important to use a reliable, full flavoured product. Recently at work, I was introduced to the fantastic milk of a cooperative dairy, Laterie de l’Outaouais, located across the river from Ottawa in Gatineau.  This employee owned dairy focuses on purchasing quality milk from farmers and then minimizing pasteurization to get a full flavoured, rich tasty product.  By far the best milk I have tasted in a long time. The maple syrup also comes from a nearby sugar shack in the Gatineau Hills.

Maple Walnut Kulfi
  • 3 litres (12 cups) full fat milk
  • 1 cup maple syrup, amber or dark
  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted and then finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
Make the rabarhi (homemade evaporated milk)
Place milk in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently for about 45 minutes. Occasionally, whisk milk and bottom of pot to ensure that the milk solids do not catch and burn on the bottom. Reduce the milk by two-thirds until you have 1 litre. The reduced milk will be a light brown colour and have some small chunks of milk solids. Pour the reduced milk into another container to let cool to room temperature.

Place the reduced milk, maple syrup and , chopped walnuts and ground cardamom in a blender and puree well.

Pour the mixture to almost the top of each popsicle mould. Cover the top of the mould tightly with a piece of aluminum foil. Carefully press on the top of the aluminum foil to carefully see the outline of each popsicle filling. Using a paring knife pierce the aluminum foil in the center of each mould. Insert a popsicle stick fully into each opening (see photo below). Place in a freezer and freeze for a minimum of 4 hours or preferably overnight. (Most recipes suggest placing the popsicle sticks in when it is semi-frozen. Doing it the way I suggested means you can simply walk away and not worry about when is it semi frozen).

To unmold the kulfi, quickly run the sides of the moulds under warm water and carefully put out the frozen kulfi.
I have seen many recipes which suggest using canned condensed milk to make kulfi. Condensed milk is often sweetened with additional sugar and in the case of this recipe will make the final product too sweet. Similarly, in other recipes you most likely will need to reduce the sugar added when using canned condensed milk. My personal feeling it to make the rabarhi in order to produce a more natural less sweet kulfi.

Inserting popsicle sticks into moulds for maple walnut kulfi

Placing aluminum foil over the popsicle moulds and lightly press down. Make small slits with a paring knife in teh centre. This will help keep the popsicle sticks in the middle of the kulfi.

NOTE: This was originally posted on my blog India On My Plate on July 6, 2011