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Monday, August 23, 2010

Mango Pie

One of my favorite fruit pies in the summer is mango, and conveniently enough, it is also one of the easiest pies to make.  The basis for the recipe (read: the ingredients list) originally came from my friend Shivani, and I then adapted the proportions of which to suit my own tastes.  This is a no-bake pie, requiring only a handful of ingredients, most of which are easily attainable. Mango pulp, unflavored gelatin, cream cheese, sour cream, water, and graham cracker crusts. I say “crusts” plural because this recipe will make multiple pies at once. The only unusual ingredient is the mango pulp, which comes in 30 oz cans. I use alphonse mango pulp, which I get from my local Indian store. This kind of pulp is already sweetened, so the pie does not require any additional sugar. If you are not fortunate enough to live within easy striking distance of an Asian supermarket, the pulp can also be found here.  Alternatively, you can make fresh mango pulp, which defeats the ease of assembling the pie, in my opinion.

And now, just a brief teeny tiny botanical/historical interlude…Mangos  belong to the genus Magnifera, grown on fruit trees indigenous to India, where they have been cultivated for thousands of years. Mango variety is enormous, and there are currently 1000+ cultivars. Alphonso mangos are one of the most sought-after and expensive of all mango cultivars. Originally named for Alfonso de Albuquerque, the Portuguese  governor of Portuguese India in the early 16th century who used to bring them with him on his travels, the mangos are generally referred to as Aapoos or Haapoos in Asia.  Mangos account for half of the worldwide tropical fruit production.  Interestingly, mango peel contains urushiol, the same chemical compound that causes contact dermatitis in poison ivy and poison sumac. Mango peel isn’t all bad, however, many of the pigments contain antioxidents.

Back to the pie. In essence, the workflow is very simple. First, you dissolve unflavored gelatin in boiling water (you can use the microwave to boil the water).  You then combine the gelatin-water with cream cheese and sour cream, and mix until combined (my pics look a little frothy because I decided to use a hand mixer this time). The heat will in effect melt the cheese and cream, and you will be left with a milk-ish looking liquid. Then you add in the mango pulp from the can, pour into your crusts, top with saran wrap, and pop into the fridge for several hours or overnight. If you want, you can pre-bake your crusts as per the directions on the package (usually this entails brushing it with an egg wash and baking it at 375F for about 5 minutes). This is optional however, and most of the time I don’t bother.


The only other thing to keep in mind is that the recipe below, as written, makes more than one pie. This is to use up the entire can of mango pulp because, honestly, I have nothing to do with a leftover half can of mango pulp. If you can think of another use for that half can, then feel free to halve the recipe and make one pie. However, the excess pies never seem to go to waste, everyone loves them. If you’re not sure what to do with multiple pies, time when you make them so that you can bring a pie to a special occasion function, and the other to work or something like that. This recipe is also perfect for when you have multiple functions in the same weekend, it is a great take-along recipe (although keep in mind it has to be stored in the fridge).  The sizes and number of pies I make depends on the crusts I have on hand. For this particular iteration, I used one 9oz crust and one 6oz crust and filled them to the brims. I suspect that if you use all 6 oz crusts, you’d probably be able to get 3 pies out of it. There are also mini-graham cracker crusts available, so as long as you have multiple crusts on-hand, you can make any combination of sizes that you wish.

Using a whipped cream or Cool Whip topping is a definite option with this pie. Because I lay saran wrap on it while it is solidifying (to prevent the formation of a skin), the surface isn’t smooth. Whipped cream would “pretty up” the surface of the pie.  You can smear it right on top after the pie solidifies and make a mango cream pie. I personally just like to offer it on the side, since I prefer my mango pie slice nekkid. You can also fold in whipped cream or Cool Whip prior to solidifying the pie, but I have a feeling this would mute the mango taste too much for my taste buds.

  • 2-3 ready-made graham cracker crusts (6oz, 9oz and/or minis)
  • 1 - 30oz can of mango pulp (keep in mind that if the pulp is sweetened, you will not need additional sugar)
  • 1 - 8oz block of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ C sour cream
  • 3 packets unflavored gelatin
  • 2 C boiling water
  • Whipped cream or Cool Whip (optional)

  1. Pre-bake the graham crusts if desired, and let cool.
  2. Melt the gelatin in boiling water until dissolved (can use microwave to boil the water, mine took about 3 minutes)
  3. Combine the cream cheese and sour cream in a bowl, and mix until combined (you can use a stand or hand mixer. There will be froth…don’t worry about it…)
  4. Add the gelatin-water mixture to the cream mixture and mix until combined
  5. Add in the mango pulp and mix until combined. At this point, it is easy to do by hand, which will also take care of some of the froth
  6. Pour filling into the crusts, and lay saran wrap over the top, touching the liquid. This is to prevent a skin. I’m not really sure if there is enough dairy in this pie to form a skin, but I am taking nooooo chances!
  7. Place filled crusts in refrigerator for at least several hours or overnight.

When the pie has solidified and chilled, slice it up and serve it! This pie is light, fresh, and delicious. I frequently bring it to places and get dubious looks when I tell people that it is a mango pie, but those suspicious looks always disappear when they taste it. People always request the recipe which, by my standards, is the surest way to know something is really being enjoyed!!

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