Champagne mangoes are ripe and cheap around here at the moment. They’re also irresistible. They have a mild, sweet taste (you can see why they’re also called “honey mangoes.”) They have small pits and pretty, velvety flesh, not at all stringy. I wanted to make a fresh little tart that would show them off nicely without overwhelming them. So I made a ginger-shortbread shell (which would taste good on its own as a cookie, as it happens!) And I made a pastry cream flavored with vanilla and cardamom. Pastry cream is my kind of custard. It has a little bit of flour in it, which means that you don’t have to worry too much about letting it curdle. And if it does curdle, you can process it till it’s smooth again. And – you know when it’s thick. There’s no doubtful “Is that coating the back of the spoon? What does that even look like? Should I be using a metal spoon or a wooden spoon? Will it get thicker, or will it just get RUINED?!?!” (I’m a nervous custard maker.) When pastry cream is thick, it’s thick.
Everybody liked the tart, even the littlest food critic, Isaac. And, you know, it’s just fruit and milk! Right?
Here’s Mango Meat by Mandrill. I love this one!!
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t ginger
5 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 t vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350.
Combine the flour, ginger, salt and sugar in a bowl. Work in the cold butter till you have coarse crumbs. Add the vanilla and egg. Knead for a few minutes till everything is incorporated.
Lightly butter and flour a pie plate. (I didn’t want to make a huge tart, so I didn’t use my tart pan this time) Press the dough into the pie plate as evenly as you can. Use a fork to even the edges and make a pretty pattern up the sides. Use the same fork to prick the bottom in a few places.
Bake for 15 or 20 minutes till the edges start to brown and it’s completely set. If the edges start to fall down, you can use a fork to try to persuade them to stand back up again.
1 1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 T flour
1 t vanilla
1/2 t cardamom powder
2 t salted butter
Put the milk, vanilla, and 1/2 the sugar in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.
Meanwhile, combine the eggs, flour, salt, cardamom and the rest of the sugar in a bowl. Whisk well, until the eggs are nice and fluffy, and everything is very smooth.
When the milk has achieved simmering status, and is covered with tiny bubbles, pour about half of it into the eggs in a very thin stream, whisking quickly the whole time. Then pour everything back into the pan, making sure to get every drop of egginess.
Whisk whisk whisk until the mixture boils (a few minutes). Once it’s boiling, keep whisking until it starts to thicken. (Another few minutes) I think the whole process took about 10 minutes for me. It should be very smooth and obviously thick. When it’s done, if you tilt the pan to the side, the mixture will pull away from the bottom.
At that point, pour it into a cool bowl. Put a piece of foil or plastic wrap just touching the surface, and put it in the fridge till you’re ready to use it.
Spread the pastry cream in a generous layer in the pie shell. Peel and slice the mango into nice-sized slivers, and arrange them prettily on the pastry cream. Eat!