Sunday, March 20, 2011
Mangoes are in season. This is surprising to me--seems like they would be a summer fruit--but they've begun showing up in our produce box, which means, their time is now.
I searched the Hungry Dog to see what I did last time we got mangoes and was reminded of the crazy mango bars, a post which, although I like it, makes me sad, because it reminds me of Frances. Like about one million other things do. Today is two months without her, and while it's gotten easier on a day-to-day level--(after all, you must adjust to things about which you have no choice)--when I think about that dog, I realize my heart is still smashed into tiny pieces.
Anyway, that doesn't change the fact that I had a couple of rapidly ripening mangoes to use up and on friday I came across Barbara's post about a mango upside-down cake with basil ice cream--an intriguing combination, no? I decided that this (yet another) rainy weekend would be a good time to give it a whirl.
Unfortunately, I encountered a few challenges from the get-go. For one, I couldn't tell if my caramel had darkened or actually burned, and since it was screaming hot, I couldn't taste it. Also, the butter and sugar seemed to remain sort of separated, which I was fairly sure wasn't right. But after awhile, I figured that was as good as it was going to get and so I turned off the heat.
Then, one of my gorgeous mangoes was spoiled. Luckily, by chance I'd picked up a little box of blueberries at the store earlier. So I sprinkled the berries in to fill the holes between the mango slices.
The rest of the cake was simple and pleasant to put together, even if it involved a number of steps, including separating the eggs, whipping the whites, and folding them in. I like doing all those things, though, and I find satisfaction in a producing a lovely, light batter.
When the cake emerged from the oven and I flipped it onto a plate, it looked beautiful and weird. The blueberries had turned purpley-black and with the glowing orange mango, it was fit for Halloween.
When we dug into it later, although the flavor was good, it seemed a bit heavy, which I hadn't expected. I had beaten the whites to stiff peaks and folded them in ever so carefully, but somehow I must have over-mixed and lost some of the airiness the cake should have had. It sounds like Barbara's was ethereal. Mine was more like a cake-shaped brick.
So, overall, while not a failure, not exactly a success. I had better luck with the plum upside down cake I made from Alice Waters's cookbook last year. But, I trust Barbara and her cake turned out perfectly. So, give it a go. Just be more gentle with the folding step. And let me know if you try that basil ice cream--sounds like a winner.