Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mango Lime Coconut Pudding

I think I'm getting the hang of these fruit puddings.  The key principles seem to be:

1) Ripe, sweet fruit, peeled, and preferably smooth textured
2) Sufficient saturated fat to make it gel in the fridge
3) Cook it all long enough to soften the fruit, blend the bejesus out of it & cook long enough for it to sweeten itself
4) A hint of salt to enhance the sweet
5) Plus flavor enhancer (spice, vanilla, acid, etc), a little if the flavor base liquid doesn't need to be masked, a lot if it does

Without further ado, Mango Coconut Lime Pudding!

* 1/2 can coconut milk
* 2 tbsp coconut oil (I use the expeller pressed, non-coconut flavoured coconut oil, but you can use the regular kind if you want a stronger coconut flavor)
* 3/4 cup cubed mango (I used the frozen dole cubes; frozen is nearly as good as fresh, and is generally more reliable regarding peak ripeness & smooth texture) (*)
* Dash of cardamom (I promise, I'll measure next time!)
* 1/8 tsp salt
* 1 tsp lime juice, FRESH PLEASE, bottled is an abomination (**)
* Zest from one lime (optional)

Makes 2 portions

1) Throw everything except lime juice & zest into small pot.  Bring to a boil, and then lower back to a simmer for 5 minutes.

2) Blend the daylights out of it. (I put over-ear headphones on for noise protection and blend to a count of 45 in my head.)

3) Pour back into small pot, simmer another 25 minutes, (almost minimally low heat on my stovetop), stirring every few minutes.  After about 10 minutes, add lime juice. (***)  (Possibly this can be done earlier, I had it in my head that the acid would denaturize & evaporate if I added it too soon.  I need to research this further.  I don't know how important that is.)

4) turn off heat, stir in lime zest (and this SHOULD definitely be added at the end, citrus essential oils evaporate FAST), (*+*) pour into custard cups, refrigerate.

5) Lick spoon & edges of pot once it cools.  Then check your email, your twitter, your Facebook, and repeat, trying to keep your grabby little hands OFF THE PUDDING until it cools enough to gel.

Results, mostly good, but mixed:

Texture: 9/10, definitely pudding, but didn't love the stringy bits of the zest.    Will probably skip the zest next time, or if I'm feeling SOOOPER motivated, I may blend it a second time.

Flavor: 8.5/10.  I achieved the good, bright clean mango flavor I was looking for, but it came out just a little more acid than I wanted. I'll try reducing the lime juice a bit next time. Definitely good though. Just not the OMG I AM INCREDIBLE good that the flavor of the pear-gingerbread got.

Normal person tastebud response: Complete Failure, but under very specialized circumstances.  Spouse did not like one bit.  He made a very unhappy face.  Of course, we realized a few minutes after I'd finished all the pudding, (what did you expect??) that he'd had peanut butter & chips with salsa for dinner only a few minutes before.  I'm thinking those flavors might not blend with mango all that well.  Next time he taste tests a pudding, I'm making sure he has a palette cleanser first!


(*) Some mangoes have a lovely, smooth as butter texture, while others double as dental floss.  I used to think this was a matter of ripeness, but more recently started noticing that it appears to depend on variety. I found a blog post, http://www.mangomaven.com/the-trouble-with-tommy/ (*++*) which discusses the matter further. I strongly suspect the smooth version to be far more appropriate for this recipe, but I haven't actually tried cooking the OMG OUT GET THIS OUT OF MY TEETH variety. 

(**) This is a quote from Rachel Maddow on one of her cocktail moments, (okay, it was about lemon juice, not lime, but still) and she is a Rhodes Scholar, so it must be true!  Also, bottled lime juice is way the hell less paleo and much less tasty than fresh.

(***)  Possibly the lime juice can be added earlier, but I had it in my head that the acid would denaturize & evaporate if I added it too soon.  I need to research or test this further.

(*+*) I'm not convinced the zest made that big a difference.  It smelled great when I did it, and my fingertips still smelled pretty awesome an hour later.  But I'm not sure if actually changed the flavor much.  Possibly this is because I am paranoid & washed the fruit with soap & water before zesting. (It's rather unusual to get citrus that isn't sprayed with pesticides.) I may have washed away flavor. I also didn't really love the texture of the zest. Too many strikes -- I'll probably skip the zest next time.

(*++*) despite similarities in name between the mango blog and my website, and the apparent similar senses of humor (as evidenced by his/her description of Tommy Atkins mangoes as "stringy little bastards"), I am not the mango maven, nor have I ever met the person before.

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