I was very lucky, growing up, to have parents who were interested in food and cooking. My Mum had a rule that she would try at least one new recipe every week, so mealtimes were never boring. And my Dad, perhaps unusually for the late 70s/early 80s, was also keen to get stuck in in the kitchen. He made jams and chutneys and amazing lemon curd, and tried out all sorts of weird and wonderful dishes on his largely enthusiastic family.
When I was very little, he went to Mexico with a friend. I remember that when he came back, he made chilli con carne for dinner. The preparations seemed to take days – soaking the kidney beans, procuring and mixing spices… The anticipation only heightened our expectations of this highly exotic dish! My memory of those childhood hours in the kitchen, filled with new and exciting smells and tastes, have stayed with me for decades, and I have no doubt that my parents’ culinary enthusiasm has influenced me hugely.
I don’t know if it was on that same trip to Mexico that my Dad first ate a fresh mango, but I do know that when I was about 7 or 8 years old, he came home one day in a flurry of excitement, brandishing a mango and insisting that we all try some. I have no idea where he found a fresh mango in Lancashire in the early 1980s, but the town I grew up in had (and still has) an incredible and world-famous market, so it is possible that he got it from an adventurous stall-holder. In any case, he brought it home with much fanfare, and the family gathered to watch him peel and slice it, and share it out.
Oh my. How well I remember that first mouthful of mango. It tasted like nothing I’d ever eaten before, and a million miles away from familiar apples and oranges and pears. Sweet, soft, fragrant, floral, almost spicy. The soft soft flesh, melting, tender, overflowing with sticky juice that covered my hands and chin. I remember licking and licking my fingers to get every last drop of that sensational flavour.
I have no idea what variety of mango it was, but I have never tasted another like it. As much as I enjoy the easily available mangoes that we eat now on an almost weekly basis, their flavour is not as complex, as tropical, or as perfumed as that first, perfect mango. And while delicious, they have become ordinary. An everyday, familiar fruit, like apples and oranges and pears.
So, in homage to my father and his home-made lemon curd, and that first wonderful mango, I have attempted to create a mango curd, subtly perfumed with orange blossom water and hints of spice. It has a rich, comforting and luxurious flavour, which I hope you will enjoy even without the generous spoonful of nostalgia that seasons mine 🙂
Makes 1 medium-large, or 2 small jars.
- 60g butter
- 240g ripe mango flesh
- 75g golden caster sugar
- 0.25 tsp ground ginger
- 0.25 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 0.25 tsp orange blossom water
- 2 eggs
- Place the butter in a large bowl and microwave for 1 minute or until melted.
- Meanwhile, dice the mango flesh, then puree in the food processor until smooth.
- Mix the mango puree, sugar, spices and orange blossom water with the melted butter, and return to the microwave. Cook for 1 minute on high, stir, and cook for a further minute. Stir well to ensure that everything is well combined and the sugar is all dissolved.
- Put the eggs into the food processor and blend for a few seconds. With the motor running, pour the hot butter/mango/sugar mixture in and blend till thoroughly combined.
- Transfer the mixture back into the bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir thoroughly. Microwave for a further minute - the curd should have thickened and have the consistency of mayonnaise. If not, cook for a further 30 seconds.
- Spoon into sterile jars. Allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator.
You can spread this mango curd onto bread, toast, biscuits, pancakes, or waffles, stir it into yogurt, spoon it over ice-cream, or use it as a delicious filling or topping for cakes or muffins. It was so quick to make, I think in a fancy jar it would also make a lovely gift.
This post is an entry into the Foodies100/Schwartz Flavour of Together challenge.