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Mango Butter

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Mango Butter

GG Mora | May 26, 2003 11:16 AM

No, I don't mean the stuff from Body Shop that you slather on after a bath. This is pure nectar of the Gods.

Faced with a box of mangoes that were about to go around the bend, I went a-hunting for jelly/jam/preserve/chutney recipes. I found many excellent candidates, but the one that blew my skirt up was a recipe from Hilaire Walden for Mango Butter. The end product is the epitome of what one hopes for on opening a jar of jam.

I did not follow the recipe exactly, so I post my own version here without fear of recrimination from the Paraphrase Police.

MANGO BUTTER (makes about 8 cups)
NOTE: Because this recipe is not terribly pectin-dependent, it can be halved or doubled without endangering the outcome.

5 lbs. very ripe mango pulp, roughly chopped
1 1/4 c. tangerine juice
1 1/4 c. lemon juice
5 c. sugar (I use the less-processed evaporated cane juice)
2 tsp. cardamom pods

Put the mango pulp and the juices in a large, wide heavy-bottomed pot (I use an 8-qt. All-Clad stockpot) and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Lower heat and simmer, stirring often, until you have something that resembles a thin, chunky apple sauce. The pieces of mango should be very soft, and there shouldn't be any liquid pooling on top.

While the mango pulp is cooking, toast the cardamom pods in a small skillet until they are lightly browned and fragrant. Grind to a fine powder in a mortar & pestle or spice mill. Strain out any long fibers that remain.

Work the cooked pulp through a fine seive (I took the time and effort to do this, though on reflection I think a food mill with a very fine screen would work just as well and tire you out less).

Return the pulp to the pan (which you will have cleaned, yes?) and add the sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often, then lower the heat and cook until the mixture is the consistency of soft whipped cream. Between stirrings, a "skin" will begin to form on top. This is good -- this is what the mango butter will look like once it cools.

Ladle the mixture into hot, sterilized jars, seal and process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner. Alternatively, pack it into any clean containers you have on hand (none metallic, though) and give it to friends and family right away so that it's their responsibility to use it up before it has a chance to go bad. Keep plenty for yourself, though.

The flavor of this stuff is bright and fruity and not overly sweet. Cardamom is the perfect complement to the spicy bouquet of mangoes. I've so far spread it on buttered white sourdough toast (and eaten plenty right off a spoon), but I believe it would be exquisite on fresh biscuits or croissants.

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