When I was asked to submit a mango recipe for a cookbook being created by the National Mango Board, I was delighted to do so. Now, you could win a copy of that cookbook! Just leave a comment on this post, and I’ll randomly pick a winner at noon Austin time on Monday June 23rd. (You must provide a US mailing address where the book will be shipped.) In case you don’t win, the recipes from the book are also available online. As I started thinking about what type of recipe to submit for the cookbook, I realized I use mangoes in a lot of different kinds of dishes. I make a Mango Dressing for salad with grilled chicken, there was a Peach and Mango Chutney that was so good with chevre, and I’ve made Flax Coconut Pancakes topped with chunks of mango. But, this time, I wanted to make a dessert. I had visions of a pretty, crunchy meringue filled with sunny, yellow mango curd with slices of mango on top. As usual, I turned to my cookbook collection for inspiration. I remembered a Saffron Pavolova from Demolition Desserts by Elizabeth Falkner, and there’s a Fig Pavlova with Lemon Mascarpone Whipped Cream in Malouf by Greg and Lucy Malouf. I mixed and matched ideas, added my own spin here and there, and the result is what you see here. The saffron turns the egg whites for the meringues a barely golden color. Although, after baking, they look brighter-white. The mango curd looks like lemon curd, but the flavor is softer with less acidity. And, adding mascarpone to whipped cream just makes it even richer tasting. All of those parts were given a fresh pop of fruitiness with the added sliced mango.
The meringues and mango curd can be made a day in advance, the whipped cream can be made a few hours early, and the dessert can be assembled when ready. For meringues, when I’m using organic granulated sugar, I’ve learned that it needs to be pulverized in a blender or food processor to make the grains finer. Otherwise, the meringues will have a grainy look. So, step one for me is to process the sugar to give it a finer texture. For these meringues, saffron threads were placed in some Champagne vinegar while the rest of the ingredients were assembled. Egg whites were whisked in a stand mixer, sugars were sifted and added slowly, cornstarch was sprinkled over the mixture and mixed in, and last, the saffron-vinegar was carefully folded into the meringue. I transferred the mixture to a piping bag to make circles, but the meringues could also be spooned into pillow shapes. The meringues were baked and left to cool. Next, the mango curd was an easy puree of peeled and chopped mango, sugar, salt, and lemon juice. Egg yolks were added and pureed, and the mixture was strained into a heat-proof bowl. The bowl was set over a saucepan of simmering water, and the puree was whisked while cooking for about 12 to 15 minutes until thickened. Off the heat, butter was added one piece at a time while whisking. The curd was chilled overnight. For the whipped cream, some mascarpone and lemon zest were added to heavy cream before whipping. And, last but not least, more mango was sliced for the topping.
The saffron adds a lovely layer of flavor that to me is like wildflower honey only slightly different, and it’s a nice pairing with the mango curd nestled in the meringue circles. But, this is just dessert, and there are so many other great uses for mangoes too. Leave a comment for a chance to win the book that’s full of mango dishes for every meal of the day.
Saffron Pavlovas with Mango Curd and Mascarpone Whipped Cream
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar *see note if using organic sugar
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 large egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
For Mango Curd:
1 large mango, peeled and cut from pit into cubes
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 egg yolks
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
For Mascarpone Whipped Cream:
1 cup cream
1/4 cup mascarpone
Zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar or to taste
Extra sliced mango for garnish
TO MAKE MERINGUES Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and draw six four-inch circles on the parchment. Turn the parchment over so the pencil marks are on the back. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees F.
Place the saffron threads in a small bowl or ramekin, and add the vinegar. Press the threads with a spoon and swirl them into the vinegar, and then set aside. Sift together the granulated sugar and powdered sugar in a separate bowl. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, add egg whites and salt. Beat egg whites on medium speed with a whisk attachment for about three minutes. Soft peaks should just begin to form. Slowly sprinkle the combined sugars over the egg whites while continuing to mix. Turn the mixing speed to high and whip for three to five minutes. The egg whites will form stiff peaks and become glossy. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the egg whites and mix just to combine. Using a large rubber or silicone spatula, fold in the saffron-vinegar mixture.
Transfer the meringue mixture to a large piping bag fitted with a wide tip or place meringue mixture in a large plastic storage bag and snip off one corner. Pipe circular meringue shapes in the circles drawn on the parchment paper. If you’d rather not use a piping bag, the meringue can be spooned into pillow shapes on the parchment-lined baking sheet. If using a spoon, make an indentation in each meringue pillow.
Bake the meringues for two hours. Then, turn off the oven without opening it, and leave the meringues in the oven for an additional four hours or overnight. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and leave meringues until completely dry. Meringues can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days, but humidity can cause them to become sticky.
*Organic, granulated sugar tends to be of a larger grain than conventional granulated sugar, and this produces meringues with a grainy texture. You can reduce the grain size of the sugar by processing it in a blender or food processor. The sugar doesn’t need to be processed to the point of becoming powdered sugar, it just needs to be processed until the grain feels more fine in texture.
TO MAKE MANGO CURD: Place mango chunks, sugar, salt, and lemon juice in a blender and process until smooth, scraping down sides of blender pitcher as needed. Add egg yolks to blender and puree for another 15 seconds. Pour puree through a sieve to strain. Place strained puree in a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, and whisk constantly until thickened, about 12-15 minutes. Remove the bowl from the saucepan, and add butter one piece at a time while continuing to whisk. Incorporate each piece of butter before adding the next piece. Cover bowl with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the mango curd, and chill the curd before using. The mango curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
TO MAKE MASCARPONE WHIPPED CREAM: Place all ingredients for the mascarpone whipped cream in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with a whisk or whisk attachment until thickened.
TO ASSEMBLE: Place meringues on dessert plates. Spoon mango curd into center of each meringue and top with mascarpone whipped cream. Garnish each plate with sliced mango.
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