For anyone who has traveled to a Southeast Asian village or town where mangos are prevalent, the arrival of mango season is unmistakeable. Riding on the back of the high humidity is the unforgettable and intoxicating scent of ripening mangos. It is everywhere, permeating the air, twenty-four hours a day. Naturally sweet with a soft, pulpy flesh, mangos are ideal for a light yet creamy sorbet with an irresistible golden color that screams ‘eat me’. The smooth and creamy texture of the mangoes and coconut milk paired with the kick of Thai chiles and the hint of cooling mint makes this mildly spicy sorbet is a refreshingly unique tropical treat!
Mangos have a large, flattened oblong pit in the center. After removing the skin with a vegetable peeler the pit can be removed by slicing large chunks of the flesh away from it. We use a full-fat organic coconut milk from Trader Joe’s, fresh mint leaves and fresh lime juice. If I remember to chill the mangos and coconut milk before mixing everything together, it speeds up the chilling time prior to churning in the ice cream maker. After blending the ingredients, the mixture transforms into a silky smooth puree that is hard to resist, even before the ‘churn’.
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After a few years of hand-churning the old fashioned way, I decided to go big and fork out the extra cash for a De’Longhi Self-Refrigerating Gelato Maker. I loved it from the first churn and have never looked back, so if you’ve ever considered getting a machine with a self-refrigerating compressor, all I can say is go for it. You’ll be making perfect ice creams every time with rave reviews from family and friends. Other models with good ratings are Whynter , Breville, and Cuisinart. (A note – these machines are different from the ones using only a pre-chilled bowl.)
Unless you have a specialized freezer that quick-freezes food, ice cream, and sorbet can form small ice crystals when freezing, making it feel granulated and unappealing. Since we love smooth and creamy, I started adding xanthan gum to the mixture before churning. This tried and true secret ingredient is plant based and has been used in food products since its discovery by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the 1960’s. Its emulsifying and thickening properties have made it a prized ingredient in gluten-free baking. It can be found online and at most health food stores and specialty markets. A note of caution, xanthan gum is remarkably effective and a minuscule amount goes a long way, so be precise in measuring the amount you use.
The tropical flavors of sweet mangos, creamy coconut, Thai chiles and a whisper of mint make this light and creamy gelato a gratifying finale to a Southeast Asian meal or a refreshing afternoon treat.