A few months ago, when my sweet little niece was around two-and-a-half, my mother and I took her to one of Mom’s favorite candy shops here in San Francisco. She marched straight to the tiny ice cream counter at back of the store and chirped, “Do you have mango?” The staff and other customers giggled at the miniature patron’s enthusiastic and slightly eccentric request.
Since one of my top goals in life is to create a belief system in my niece’s mind wherein I am a provider of all good things, I set out to make her mango ice cream dreams come true. It’s actually not all that hard a flavor to find in San Francisco, especially in the Asian neighborhoods, but since I love to make my own ice cream I thought it would be much more fun to enlist my tiny sous chef to help me make a batch from scratch. So this past December 23rd, the day my niece turned three, I brought my trusty ice cream maker over to her house, along with two ripe mangos, heavy cream, and a can of coconut milk. (A new but already cherished tradition in my family is to make a dinner of my niece’s favorite foods on the night of her birthday. The full menu, in case you’re wondering, included hot dogs, pomegranate seeds, roasted pumpkin seeds, and seaweed salad.)
The birthday girl had a great time pouring, stirring, and constantly tasting the pale orange mixture as it whirled and fluffed—and we all loved the smooth, creamy, fruity result. Seriously, no synthetically-flavored, artificially-colored, chemically-stabilized frozen dessert can stand up to pure, fresh, creamy homemade mango coconut ice cream. I wonder how this recipe would turn out with other soft, tropical fruits substituted for the mango—say bananas, or papaya. If you try it before I do, let me know how it goes!
- 2 fresh, ripe mangos
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- Peel the mangoes and cut all of the flesh away from the large pit in the center.
- In a blender or food processor, blend mango flesh, cream, coconut milk, and sugar until smooth.
- Process mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. (The result has a very soft consistency, which is really nice as is—but if you like firmer ice cream, just stick it in the freezer for a few hours or overnight.)