Alphonso Mango Sorbet

Box of Alphonso mangoes to make sorbet
Our first box of Alphonso mangoes

Our stuff still hasn’t arrived. Yawn. But I’m still happy because I’ve been gorging on Indian Alphonso mangoes. If you’ve never tried these, you must! They are the sweetest, juiciest, messiest mango! They’re only in season for around six weeks, and Indians tend to go pretty crazy for them.

The beautiful mangoes ripening in the box
The beautiful mangoes ripening in the box

Also known as ‘haapoos’ in India, Alphonsoes are grown mainly in the western coastal areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat, but also in the south west in Karnataka and in parts of Pakistan. They are named after the Portuguese general Afonso de Albuquerque who helped lay the foundations of the Portuguese colony in India. The Indians learnt how to graft trees from the Portuguese, and so the Alphonso was born.

The Alphonsoes washed and ready to be prepared
The Alphonsoes washed and ready to be prepared

You can get them in the UK (and most other countries with large Indian diaspora) too; they should be making an appearance very soon if not already. Last year, sadly we were deprived of them as the EU banned them due to a fruit fly issue. Luckily the ban didn’t last long and was lifted again this year. Go get some and join in the craziness before they’re gone! Be warned though, they’re not cheap.

Preparing the mangoes
Preparing the mangoes

Last weekend, only a few hours after returning from a two week trip back home to London and desperate to get our first fix of the season, we bought a box filled with a dozen Alphonsoes from the market. A few of them didn’t last much longer than the walk back home! My boyfriend unfortunately flew off again the same evening for a week long business trip and left me with the rest. I thought I’d have no problem finishing them off. But then the next day, my lovely landlady who lives upstairs gifted me with another six from her friend’s farm! As much as I would have loved to eat them all, I didn’t think I could manage it before the last few went bad.

Pulping the mangoes the hard way!
Pulping the mangoes the hard way!

So I decided to make a sorbet with the last six – Alphonsoes have the perfect, most amazing creamy, non-fibrous texture for this. Being without my blender and Christmas present of an ice-cream maker (which I am still to try out), I had to make do with a parmesan grater I bought recently. I pulped my mangoes with this and used a fork for the crystallisation process. It was messy… and time consuming. But definitely worth the end product!

Alphonso Mango Sorbet

And finally... alphonso mango sorbet
And finally… alphonso mango sorbet

6 ripe Alphonso mangoes
Juice of 3 limes
100g icing sugar

Remove the flesh from the mangoes – I find the best way to do this is by slicing off the ‘cheeks’, cutting a crosshatch pattern into the flesh, and turning the cheeks inside out before scooping out the flesh with a spoon. Don’t forget the thin strips along the side of the seed.

Pulp your mangoes – a blender is best, but feel free to use a parmesan grater – and add the lime juice.

Add the sugar in stages and taste as you go. You may need more or less depending on the sweetness of your mangoes. Blend or stir thoroughly.

If you have an ice-cream maker, use this to churn the mixture. Otherwise, put it into a plastic container and freeze. Remove it after 2 hours and blend, or use a fork to stir it until it has a smooth texture. Repeat this a couple more times at hourly intervals. Leave overnight to set.

If you like, sprinkle with a little more lime juice before eating.

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