I ate my first mango with a Chinese boyfriend on the steps of a hillside Buddhist temple overlooking rice paddies in Taiwan. Not a bad introduction to one of Mother Nature’s more sensual fruits!

A ripe mango of any color or persuasion exudes an overwhelming perfume. To ripen the hard green ones sold in supermarkets, seal them inside a plastic bag and leave them at room temperature for a day or more. They will turn soft, sweet, and fragrant.

This is a simple ice cream to make. Owing to the fragility of the flavor, it should be frozen as soon as it’s made and eaten shortly after freezing.

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Ingredients

  • 6 to 8 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 very large fragrant mango (about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum (optional)

Method

  1. Put 6 tablespoons sugar in a food processor. Holding the mango over the workbowl, remove the peel with a sharp paring knife and discard, then cut the soft flesh from around the seed and let it plop directly into the workbowl along with all of its juices. Process the sugar and pulp to a purée.
  2. Add the half-and-half and process to blend. Taste and adjust as needed with an additional tablespoon or more of sugar until the mixture tastes a bit too sweet (the mixture should taste a bit too sweet at room temperature if it is to taste perfect when frozen). Run the machine after every small spoonful to incorporate any extra sugar.
  3. Add the lime juice in teaspoonfuls until the flavor rounds on the tongue. Stir in the rum if you wish to further deepen the flavor.
  4. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Store with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface. Let soften slightly before serving.

Serving Suggestions: Ginger cake or ginger cookies make a wonderful partner to this ice cream. So do fresh cherries, peaches, and plums, as well as pies or tarts made from any of these fruits.

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