Taking stock of what was going on in my kitchen I realised that I was once again faced with an all too familiar dilemma...too many mangoes and not enough time to eat them. Damn it. Right before my very eyes I could see the most succulent tropical family of mangoes, a pure celebration of an Australian summer, teetering right on the edge of ripeness. I couldn’t let them go bad. I love mangoes way too much for that to happen. Along with the smell of sunscreen, the taste of watermelon, piping hot car seats and the layer of crusty sea salt left on your body after a dip in the ocean, they remind me of my favourite time of year...summer holidays. So in an attempt to save my beloved mangoes and relish in a little summer time holiday nostalgia I came up with this dish, mango and strawberry crumble.
Crumble for me equates to comfort and nurturing warmth and is usually a dessert reserved for the colder months of the year. Crumble, more often than not is full of almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts; spiked with cinnamon and laced with sugar and butter to form an assuring thick crust that covers a pie dish full of molten piping hot stewed apples. Crumble usually screams for a cold day. So with my crumble idea in mind I knew I would have to make some summer time adjustments to ensure that this dish was a full celebration of the sunny season. Using the mango was an instant nod to summer however getting the crumble from cinnamon spiked winter warmth to summer time refreshment took a little more brain power.
To achieve summer time heaven I decided to take a walk down memory lane and recall the tropical flavours I usually cook with when the days are as long as they are hot. Macadamias instantly sprung to mind, along with coconut and lime. I was well on track. I knew I could omit the cinnamon and almonds from my usual crumble recipe and add the buttery goodness of macadamia nuts and the tropical freshness of shredded coconut to create a crunchy and seasonally appropriate crumble topping. I decided to incorporate the zesty freshness of the lime into the mascarpone when serving. I simply grated the vibrantly green zest over the mascarpone, stirred through the juice of one lime as well as a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar. My aim for the mascarpone cream was to achieve enough tarty lime freshness to balance the sweetness of the cooked mango and strawberry and I am very happy to report the lime mascarpone worked a treat.
One of the things I adore about making a crumble is the almost organic experience of rubbing the butter through the crumble mixture, I find it weirdly therapeutic. Just for those few moments you’re only objective in life is to peacefully and delicately, using only the tips of your fingers, rub the butter through the flour and sugar mixture, only stopping once you’ve achieved a sand like consistency. Watching separate and otherwise inedible ingredients come together to form a beautiful dessert just like this is one of the reasons I love cooking so much.
Another moment that has me head over heels about home cooking is when you pull your creation triumphantly from the oven beaming with pride. Being witness to the final product of your efforts is such a simple yet satisfying pleasure and one that should be enjoyed often. When I retrieved the crumble from the oven I was overjoyed, the topping had gone golden brown, crunchy and smelled of a summer holiday. I could see the fruit had cooked down to infuse and unite all of their delicious juices which were happily bubbling away underneath the crumble, occasionally spilling over to form a deliciously caramelised edge. Once the crumble had finally cooled down enough for me to dive in and take my first bite I couldn’t believe how much the mango had intensified in flavour and developed even more of its gorgeous sweetness. The combination of sweet caramelised mango and crust of macadamias and coconut instantly transported me to my favourite childhood memories of summer holidays spent at the beach with my family, devouring mangoes and enjoying life. Hurray! Not only did I manage to save the mangoes from their dismal overripe destiny but I was able to capture the essence of a summertime memory in a dish. Enjoy! K xxx
Mango and Strawberry Summertime Crumble
250g punnet of strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
5 mangoes, peeled and sliced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tbs caster sugar
3/4 cup plain flour, plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt
125g butter, cut into cubes at room temperature
3/4 cup macadamias
3/4 cup shredded coconut
Zest and juice of 1 lime
100g sour cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180°C. Place strawberries, mango, lemon juice, zest, sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour in a bowl and combine. In a separate medium sized bowl place remaining flour, sugar, salt and butter and using the tips of your fingers rub the butter through until the mixture resembles damp sand. Add macadamias and coconut to flour mixture and combine. Place fruit in a 22cm pie dish and top with crumble mixture, bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the crumble mixture is golden and crusty. For the mascarpone cream, place mascarpone, sour cream, icing sugar, lime zest and juice in a bowl and combine until smooth. Serve crumble warm with a scoop of lime mascarpone. Serves 4 to 6 people (dependant on greediness).