Summer is such a nostalgic time. The bright almost blinding sun, the April-May heat, the draining humidity and most of all a city filled to the brim with cartloads of yellow, greenish, orangeish fragrant mangoes. Summers were dominated by school vacations, cold nimbu paanis (lemon juice), mangoes and ice cream. My earliest memory of ice cream is that of the local icecream wallah (seller) who would push his horribly rusty, rickety cart down the road and ring the brass bell and call out the flavours. In reality he sold only one flavour –vanilla. Milk and sugar were maybe the only ingredients he used….. but the colours pink for strawberry, yellow for saffron, green for pistachio defined the other flavours. A Rupee could fetch you 2 sticks. Today it seems almost comical when I think of the pleasure I got out of sucking that almost flavourless, icy stick….the thin milky liquid sliding down my chin onto my dress, relishing every sweet morsel and also licking the stick to make sure not a penny went waste. It was such a high point at such a low cost. Then came along a higher class of ice cream – The Softee. Soft milky cream oozing out of a machine, cloud-like softness, richer texture and irresistible synthetic flavours which were “real” and prices oh so unreal!!. Every summer as a treat a kind neighbourhood aunty and uncle would herd 8-10 of us into their car and drive us to a glitzy part of town to savour the Softee. That single experience would be enough to satiate us for a few months and our loyalty to the local sticks continued.
The other ice cream that dominated our growing years was Mamma’s mango ice cream that was just a rough puree of mangoes mixed into milk and sugar and frozen, but a treat I looked forward to even after I got married. Whenever she offered it, I had to have a bowlful just to relive those summers and feel the years vanish as I gobbled down (much to the disgust of “Mr. 40 something”) the icicle ridden, milky, too sweet, mango-chewy yummiest ice cream!
My mango ice cream is soft, rich and not too sweet. I have added the praline as a crunchy element. You will be surprised how it adds to the character of the ice cream and makes up for the subtle sweetness and the complements the mangoes.
This ice cream and the post which follows (Coconut milk and Lime Panacotta) is an ode to a simple, “no frills attached” childhood, filled with sunshine mangoes, sticky, sugary ice cream sticks, synthetic flavour Softees and Mamma’s homemade Mango Ice cream.
PS: Ooops ! In my hurry to photograph the ice cream before it melted I forgot the praline in the first picuture
Yield 750 ml (approx.)
MANGO ICE CREAM WITH CASHEWNUT PRALINE
500 grms. Chopped Mangoe pulp (approx 3 large) (Alphonso preferably but any other sweet variety can be used)
1 egg yolk
1 cup full cream milk
50 grms sugar
1 cup whipping cream (sweetened). If using unsweetened cream add 3 tablespoons caster sugar whilst whipping
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
For the Cashewnut Praline:
50 grms sugar
2 tblspns water
75 grms Cashewnuts (broken)
- In a heavy based saucepan whisk egg yolk and sugar. Pour in lukewarm milk. Put the pan on low heat and cook the custard stirring constantly. The custard will thicken and should coat the back of the spoon. Be careful not to scramble the yolk. Once its thick submerge the pan in cold water to stop the cooking. Strain it into another bowl to cool and cover with cling film to prevent a skin forming on its surface
- Chop and puree the mangoes. The puree must weigh around 450 -500 grms,
- Whip the cream to soft peaks. Add in the cooled egg yolk custard. Give the mixture a whizz using a hand blender. Mix in the mango puree.
- Pour into a freeze proof container. Freeze until semi frozen, remove and fork the ice cream till its chopped through. If you have the time, repeat this process twice. You just need to roughly chop up the ice-cream to break the icicles, don’t turn it to a liquid. Fold in the praline at this stage into the ice cream or save for later as a topping.
- For the cashewnut praline:Melt the sugar with 2 tblspns of water, over medium heat. Swirl the pan around to evenly melt and brown the sugar. Once the caramel is a nutty brown, switch off the heat and tip in the cashews. Stir the cashews around with a metal spoon until they are evenly coated. Grease a flat plate with oil. Flatten the cashew mixture on the plate and refrigerate. Once it has hardened pry it off and chop into tiiny bits.
- Serve the ice cream topped with the praline.