Mango Lassi is a popular drink in India where the climate is frequently sweltering. The yogurt-based drink makes a great treat on a hot day and is perfect for cooling down those spicy Indian curries. My understanding is that traditional lassi is actually a savory drink, made by blending plain yogurt with water, salt, and spices like cumin or mint. I’ve only ever had sweet lassi which is made by blending yogurt with sugar, fruit, and sometimes rosewater. My favorite is mango lassi, though you could use other fruit if you like.
Mango Lassi is so refreshing and addictive. It’s also very easy to make. The hardest part is getting your hands on some good mangoes like the ones from the Philippines. They’re thin-skinned and juicy and very sweet, unlike the fibrous ones that come from South America. Alphonso mangoes are a good choice and can be found more easily in the U.S., especially in Asian food stores.
2 cups mango puree (3 to 5 mangoes, depending on how big they are)
Mangoes are indigenous to the Philippines. They grow quite a few different varieties all over the country. Filipinos love to eat them ripe and sweet, or green and sour. Philippine mangoes, in my opinion, are the best in the world. My favorite is the variety they call Carabao Mangoes. Their thin, smooth skins are easy to peel and hide a golden orb of juicy sweetness that’s unrivaled by any other country’s. South American mangoes, though good, are very fibrous. In contrast, Philippine mangoes have very little fiber. You could cut one open and eat the flesh with a spoon.
We had two huge mango trees in our garden when I was growing up. I have very fond memories of sitting under the shade of the trees on lazy afternoons, reading a book or drawing. When harvest time came, we would get baskets and baskets full of bright yellow fruit from the overloaded branches. Way more fruit than we could ever eat. Our cook would make mango desserts, mango jam, and “burong mangga” (sweet pickled mangoes). We also gave away lots to friends and neighbors.
Mango Float is a very popular dessert in the Philippines. How this dessert got its name, I have no idea. To me, the name Mango Float conjures up images of a milkshake-type drink. Nothing at all like what this dessert is truly like. It’s rich and creamy and utterly delicious. You’ll find yourself wanting a second and third helping, it’s so good. And because it’s so easy to make, you’ll find yourself wanting to make it again and again.
4 large ripe mangoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cans (12.8 ozs. each) Nestlé table cream
1-2 cans (14 ozs. each) condensed milk
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. salt, optional
1 box graham crackers
Whisk the Nestlé cream, 1 can condensed milk, vanilla, and salt together in a large bowl until well combined.
Taste the cream mixture. If you want it sweeter, open the second can of condensed milk and add more, a tablespoon at a time, until the cream is sweetened to your liking.
Arrange graham crackers in a single layer at the bottom of a 9×13″ pyrex glass baking dish. Cut and trim the crackers with a knife as needed to fit the baking dish.
Spread 1/3 of the cream mixture over the graham crackers.
Top with a layer of sliced mangoes.
Repeat layering two more times with graham crackers, then cream, and ending with mango slices.
Chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
NOTE: If you want thicker layers of cream between the graham crackers, add 1 can of Nestlé cream and ½ can of condensed milk to the cream mixture, then taste for sweetness and increase condensed milk by the tablespoon, if desired. No need to increase the vanilla and salt.
I love fruit tarts. The crisp crust encasing a creamy custard filling topped with sweet fruit. Yummm! It’s one of my all-time favorite desserts! This tart is nice because it’s so versatile. Once you fill your crust with the custard, you can top it with any fruit you like. I’ve made it with peaches, strawberries, bananas, mandarin oranges, a combination of strawberries and blueberries, etc.
I had some really nice mangoes so decided to use them for a fruit tart. Then I decided to take on the ambitious task of arranging the mango slices to look like a flower. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. If you want to do the same, just peel your mango, slice the two sides away from the seed, then cut each side into thin slices. Arrange the mango slices starting with a small circle in the center and going around and around till you reach the outer crust. The number of mangoes you need depends on how big they are and how tightly you arrange your mango “petals.”