- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 11, 2006

As sunny-colored as a ripe banana but with the tantalizing taste you’d expect from tropical fruit, that’s the lure of champagne mangos.

This mango is actually the Ataulfo variety, which is grown in Mexico. It got its bubbly name because it is regarded as the champagne of mangos. The fruit is tender with a creamy texture and has fewer of the stringy fibers found in other mangos.

Luckily, you have just enough time to try this luxurious fruit. The season for champagne mangos is spring through July.

When shopping for mangos, you’ll note that the champagne variety is slightly smaller than other varieties, so buy one piece of fruit per serving. Be sure to look for firm, blemish-free skin.

You’ll probably have to keep the fruit at room temperature for a day or two before it’s at optimal ripeness. The skin color may turn to a deep yellow and wrinkle slightly. The fruit will be aromatic and soft to the touch when it’s ready to eat.

You’re in for a treat. Peel the mango, preserving as much of the fruit as possible. Cut off a slice and savor the delightfully sweet taste. Now restrain yourself.

Slice or dice the remainder to use in a delicious rum-laced sauce for bread pudding. And, to gild this experience, serve the dessert with a glass of slightly sweet sparkling.

Bread pudding with rum-flavored mangos

2 eggs

1½ cups milk

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups toasted bread cubes, torn into ½-inch pieces (see note)

Rum-flavored mangos (recipe follows)

Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir in bread cubes.

Pour into well-buttered 1½-quart glass baking dish.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until top of pudding is golden brown and knife inserted into center comes out clean.

To serve, spoon pudding into dessert bowls and top with rum-flavored mangos. Makes 2 or 3 servings.

Note: Toast firm white bread. Avoid sourdough, which adds tangy flavor to this dessert.

RUM-FLAVORED MANGOS

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 champagne mangos, peeled, pitted and sliced (see note)

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 cup golden or dark rum

Melt butter in medium skillet. Add mangos. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until mangos are tender and glazed with butter. Stir in salt and sugar, and heat until sugar dissolves. Stir in rum. Increase heat to high.

Cook for 1 minute, scraping bottom of skillet and stirring constantly, until sauce thickens slightly and raw rum taste cooks off. Makes 2 or 3 servings.

Note: If desired, substitute 2 medium-large peeled peaches for the mangos.

TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES

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