Well, you guys dissed all my suggestions for pudding last week so I came up with something new. They had some really nice, ripe mangos at the store so I thought it might work to puree them down and add them to a traditional vanilla pudding.
The flavor on this was really awesome. It was light and very refreshing actually, but still had the pudding richness that one expects.
One thing: The texture wasn’t spot on. Mango is a very fibrous fruit and it was basically impossible to get rid of all the fibers so the pudding wasn’t as smooth as I would’ve liked. Betsy and I still had no problem housing large bowls of the stuff though.
1) Dice the mango into cubes and process it until smooth. Strain the mango puree to remove any fibers or chunks.
2) Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt together in a bowl.
3) In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the mango puree and milk and cream (or half and half). Heat this mixture, whisking continuously, until it’s frothy and steaming, but not boiling. It should be about 180 degrees and will probably take about 8 minutes.
4) Take the milk mixture off the heat and slowly whisk 1/3 of it into the egg mixture. Once your eggs are tempered, whisk the egg mixture back into the milk mixture.
5) Add your vanilla extract to the pudding base and put it back on low heat for a few minutes to thicken further. The mixture should easily coat the back of the spoon.
6) Once it’s thickened, take it off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Then place a piece of plastic wrap over the pudding and put it in the fridge for a few hours to chill and set completely. Four hours is about right.
7) Serve with freshly chopped mango.
Managing the mangos
As tends to be the case, the most delicious things are sometimes the most awkward to eat. Mangos are no exception. They’re hard to peel and messy, but this is how I deal with them. I stand them on their end, so they look kind of like a football, and then slice off the cheeks around the big seed in the center.
Then I take each cheek and carve a grid in it with a knife and turn it inside out. Like this!
You can then easily slice off all the individual cubes without too much of a problem. For this recipe you need to puree the mangos. I did this in my tiny food processor but you could obviously use a full-sized one also.
The problem with mangos is that they are really fibrous. Even after you puree them for a minute or so, there will be some small chunks and fibers left over. So I tried to minimize this in the final pudding by working the puree through a mess strainer using a fork.
Finally, after all that work of processing and straining you should have a relatively smooth mango puree that’s ready to be made into pudding.
There’s a few different ways to make pudding and they all basically differ based on what’s used to thicken the pudding. You can use cornstarch or gelatin but both of those seem a bit like cheating to me. You also run the risk of ending up with jello or something if you over-thicken.
So I use eggs for my pudding. Sure, it might be a few more calories, but the end result is the perfect thickness and richness. I’m not really sure why you would use anything else!
To start, whisk together your egg yolks, eggs, sugar, and salt The sugar might not dissolve completely, but whisk it well to get it as combined as possible. Then set it aside for later.
Mix the half-and-half or cream and milk with the mango puree in a medium pan over medium heat. Whisk it slowly until frothy and steaming. You don’t want it boiling or you run the risk of scalding your milk.
If you have a thermometer, you’re shooting for somewhere in the 180 degree range. I just eyeballed mine though. Probably took about 8 minutes to get to the right stage.
The next part is literally the only tricky part about making any custard, ice cream, or pudding and that’s tempering the egg yolk into the milk base. You want to combine them but if you do it wrong, you’ll just cook the eggs and end up with mango scrambled eggs.
Tempering just means slowly bringing the yolks up to the temperature of the milk. If you do it this way then the yolks will stay liquid and thicken rather than seizing up and becoming cooked.
To combine the two mixtures, add about 1/3 of your hot milk mixture, slowly, into your egg and sugar mixture. Whisk furiously while you’re doing this! The idea is to slowly and evenly raise the temperature of the eggs.
Once you’ve that done, your yolks should still be liquid but now they should be hot as well. Now slowly pour the EGG mixture back into the milk mixture, again whisking furiously the whole time.
Done! You should have a pretty smooth base now that you can put back on the heat over low heat.
Add your vanilla extract now continue to stir until it thickens substantially, about 5-6 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it can coat the back of a spoon.
My spoon test was my first indicator that my texture was going to be a bit off…
You can see how the tiny mango bits kind of mess up the smoothness of the custard. Oh well. No going back now!
Once your custard is thick and coats a spoon without dripping at all, take it off the heat and let it cool for 5-10 minutes. If you want to be really picky about it, you can re-strain the custard mixture now, but I never do that unless I’m planning on serving it to The Prez or something.
Then cover it well with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for at least 4 hours to chill completely. The plastic wrap on the pudding will prevent a skin from forming on it.
Once you’re ready to serve it, scoop out as much as you want and top with freshly chopped mango!
As I mentioned, my pudding didn’t end up being the silky smooth texture I was hoping for. Even though the texture wasn’t perfect, the flavor was really good in this!
If anyone has any ideas on how to make the mango even smoother, leave a comment!