Every summer involves a ritual of luscious mangoes dazzling in their sweetness and and tropical fruity aroma. After more than 5 years, I got the chance to taste Indian mangoes all the way in London on a vacation and there were so many varieties to choose from; the Kesar, the Alphonso, the Langara, and so many more that I’m now certain that if I can’t visit India in May, I might need to just take a trip back to the land of the Queen.
This ice cream is very simple and you will need a good high-speed blender to break the star anise. Otherwise, pre-grind it before and then add it.. The star anise sweet spiciness intensifies the sweetness of the mango. I lean heavily towards coconut flavors, so I add a bit more here because it reminds me of Goa, the mango and coconut trees lining the streets.
A note on canned mangoes: I buy the Organic 24 Mantra brand (Alponso variety) which I like since it has no added sugar so I can control the sweetness. This is available at Indian grocery stores and online. Else, go for a ripe, aromatic mango and blend that in.
mango, coconut, and star anise ice cream
Makes approximately 1 generous quart
2 cups [480 ml] canned Alphonoso mango pulp or a good ripe mango puree
4oz [115g] cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes
3/4 cup [150g] sugar
1 whole star anise pod
1 cup [240 ml] half and half
1 Tbsp [15 ml] good quality coconut extract
1/4 cup [18g] sweetened or unsweetened desiccated shredded coconut
Place the mango pulp with the cream cheese, sugar, and star anise pod in a blender. Pulse for a few seconds until the cheese and star anise are completed integrated. Add the half and half with the coconut extract and pulse for a couple of seconds. Strain the ice cream base over a fine mesh strainer directly into the bowl of your ice cream maker. Discard the solids and prepare the ice cream as per the instructions of your ice cream maker’s manufacturer. Once the ice cream is done, transfer it to a freezer-safe container, line the surface with parchment paper and press down to remove any air bubbles. Freeze for at least 2 hours to firm up completely.
Before serving, prepare the topping. Heat a medium skillet on medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the coconut and toast until they turn into a mix of golden brown and white shreds. This happens rather quickly in a 1 to 2 minutes, so watch them carefully so as not to burn them. Transfer the toasted coconut to a bowl. Before scooping the ice cream to serve, garnish with a teaspoon of toasted coconut.
Note: If your ice cream is very firm, let it sit out at room temperature for about 5 to 8 minutes to soften and then serve.