Mango season is well and truly in full swing over our Christmas and New Year period. Lusciously ripe and abundant we have been buying mangoes by the tray, and storing them on the bottom shelf of the fridge, ready to eat at a moment’s notice. Sweet and juicy, they’re incredibly refreshing on a hot summer’s day but so very messy to eat. Just try eating one without juice dribbling all over your hands and down your arms. Perhaps that’s why some people swear the best place to eat a mango is in the pool or by the water.
I sometimes think its such a pity that mango and cherry season coincides with our Christmas celebrations when there is so much competing deliciousness on offer. Each year it’s the same story. Every last centimetre of fridge space is crammed full with all manner of appetising titbits, catering to even the fussiest palates. When the whirlwind of festivities stops, there are rather a lot of leftovers to contend with, in a short space of time, before we slide into summer holiday mode.
What to do with that very last tray of mangoes languishing on the bottom shelf before departing for your holidays? My latest obsession is to transform them into Sweet and Spicy Mango, Lime and Chili Paletas. I’ve written about these frozen Mexican ices before in one of my earliest posts Hola. Mad About Paletas. The secret is out. These treats are a wonderfully delicious way to use up all manner of seasonal fruit. Indeed the riper the fruit, the sweeter and more addictive the paleta. The process is so very easy to master.. So much so we’ve tried all manner of flavour combinations; strawberry and balsamic, roasted banana, raspberry and hibiscus tea, and a 5-2 fast day version watermelon and mint. Mango, chilli and lime may sound like a rather strange combination, vaguely reminiscent of a salsa, but it works. All sunshine and happiness on a stick.
Sweet and Spicy Mango, Lime and Chili Paletas
Makes 8 – 10 ices
If you don’t have conventional paleta moulds improvise and use small disposable cups or shot glasses.
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 long red chilli, split in half and de seeded
4 (about 3 cups) mangoes, diced
juice and finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon crushed red chillies
MAKE a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
ADD the long red chilli and simmer over low heat for five minutes. Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the syrup into a glass jar.
REFRIGERATE until cool. Remove the chilli. Strain mixture through a fine sieve before using.
FINELY dice one cup of mango and set aside.
PUREE the remaining mango with the chilli infused simple syrup, salt, lime zest and juice in a blender until smooth.
STIR through the crushed red chillies and finely diced mango.
DIVIDE the mixture among the paleta moulds, remembering to leave up to a one centimetre buffer from the top of the moulds for expansion.
SNAP on the lids and freeze until mixture begins to set around edges, about 45–60 minutes. Insert sticks and freeze until solid, about 4 – 5 hours.
JUST before serving dip the moulds briefly in hot water to release the paletas.