Here’s a dessert that is super simple, truly celebrates the mango and is barely more work than cutting up a mango and a little light whisking. This is the kind of thing I save my mangos for and man is it worth it.
Despite the fact that it really shouldn’t be mango season anymore—it tends to peak in April and May here—the grocery stores in my neighborhood keep having banging deals on mangos! And I cannot say no to mangos. To me, mangoes feel like glorious luxury. When I was young growing up in Canada mangoes were pretty hard to find (no kidding!) and I still remember my first bite. When I get them now, I tend to resist eating them right away, what if I don’t get to have another one for a year?! Even though they are now so much more abundant in urban grocery stores in North America I still can’t help but think it has to be fleeting.
But lately, the wealth of mango riches has me using them in everything from shrimp tacos (last night) and salads to various whole grain puddings I’ve been experimenting with.
I like ataulfo mangoes best in general because they tend to be the best quality here. But I have never met a mango I didn’t like unless it was horribly under-ripe. I am not picky about mangoes. They are all good.
So below is a recipe as well as a little tutorial on cutting up a mango. Sorry about the bad quality of the photos. Doing these while holding a camera is crazy hard. I do not recommend trying to cut a mango with one hand while trying to balance a camera.
I hope it was helpful! If you are still confused and want a video tutorial, here you go:
Mango Coconut Cream Parfait
Easy chopped mango and coconut cream dessert for peak mango season.
To make the coconut cream open your can of coconut cream. Place a large sieve over a bowl and use a spoon to scoop the coconut cream into the sieve letting the thin, coconut milk fall through the sieve and settle in the bowl. The coconut milk will have settled on the bottom of the can and this is the simplest way to separate the cream from the milk. We just want the cream for this recipe! Alternatively you can just carefully scoop out your cream, making sure the milk doesn't mix in with the cream.
In a bowl add the coconut cream, honey and vanilla and whisk for 30 seconds or so until it is smooth and thick.
Now cut up the mangoes. Here's some detailed instructions below, but if you already know how to cut mangoes just skip to the end.
Get a sharp paring knife and a cutting board. Hopefully you have a ripe mango. You want it to have just a little give everywhere. Firm, but your fingers can still easily squish it a bit. If it has any super squishy bits then it is probably bruised or over-ripe so try to pick the ones that have pretty much the same firmness, with just a little give all over. A good mango should feel a lot like a ripe avocado if you are more used to choosing them.
There is a large pit in the centre that is very long, but not very wide so you don't want to cut through the middle like you would with a peach. Holding the mango at the tip, with the wider rounded parts facing out, cut one slice of the mango off, kind of like you are cutting a cheek off. See where I did it below. Now slice all the way down.
Now repeat on the other side. You'll end up with 3 pieces of mango: 2 "cheek" pieces that are all the delicious flesh and one flat piece with a big pit in the middle.
The pitted piece is the one on the bottom of the photo. See the white, slightly hairy bits peaking out? That is the pit!
The piece with the pit on it still has some delicious mango flesh on it and we want all of it. So peel the skin off it, losing as little of the flesh as you can. Don't use my technique here. It's terrible. This is the only way I could show you what I was doing with one hand. Looks pretty ridiculous!
Once you have it peeled, cut away at the flesh, using the pairing knife to feel when you get too close to the tough pit. Just cut off small hunks and don't worry about them looking pretty. Get as much off as you can. The riper it is the more mango you can cut away from the pit. You may find your hands getting juicy and slippery so be careful. But better to get into it and wait until the end to clean your hands because there is a lot more to come.
There ya go! Now, don't throw out the pit, you'll use it later.
Now take one of the "cheek" pieces and make 4-5 vertical cuts all the way down. Do not slice through the peel, just slice through the mango flesh until you feel the peel. If you go a bit too far don't worry, it will be fine, but try not to cut through the peel. It should look like this when you are done.
Now cut horizontally using the same technique to make a little checkerboard with your mango.
Now, gently press on the outer layer of peel upward to turn the piece inside out and kind of pop the mango pieces out. This is a lovely way to serve mango so if you are cutting mango just to eat or to serve someone else in the future, just stop here! But we're not quite done for our parfait.
Now do the same with the other side and then gently slice off the little squares with your knife, getting as close to the peel as you can. Look at your nice little pile of mango! Now do it again with the 2nd mango! It gets pretty quick and a lot easier with practice, I swear!
Now, as the mango slicer, take your reward and bite off any leftover mango bits from the pit piece.
Mmmmm this is so good. Do I even need to make the rest of the recipe?
Gotta gnaw off every bit of the mango flesh! Don't worry if it gets stuck in your teeth. You'll get it out ... eventually.
Okay, so now just take your mango and spoon a layer of it into each glass. Top it with some coconut cream and then add the rest of the mango. Then drizzle the rest of the coconut cream overtop aaaaaand you're done! Not much to this one, but it is soooooo delicious and quite rich from the coconut cream. Now pick someone you really love to share this with and enjoy!
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Hi! I'm Leanne Brown, a home cook in Brooklyn by way of Canada.
I write cookbooks, like the one below!