Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mango Sorbet for a Hot Day

It's mango season in Niger! The capital is overflowing with the large, warmly-colored fruit which grows well all over West Africa.

As you drive down the dusty roads, you can stop and buy a kilo or two from the young men who push neatly stacked piles of mangoes in wheelbarrows up and down the streets.

But if you have your own mango tree, you are truly lucky because their branches are heavy with the sticky, sweet fruit right now.

These Nigerien mangoes are smaller than their cousins in Benin and Togo, but they are no less delicious. Their only drawback is the large amount of fibrous threads embedded in the flesh. However, if you are going to make mango sorbet, these threads won't bother you a bit! This week, Paulina and I experimented with some local mangoes plucked from the branches of a neighbor's tree. We used the "Soft-Fruit Sorbet" recipe from How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman. While he suggests using an ice cream maker, we relied on patience and old-fashioned arm power.

Mango Sorbet

1 1/2 cups mango, peeled and seeded
1 cup milk
1 cup powdered sugar, or to taste
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

  • Purée the mangoes in a blender.
  • Strain the fruit through a fine sieve or strainer to separate the fibers from the pulp. You may need to press it through the sieve with a spoon.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the milk, sugar, and 1 1/2 cups of the strained mango pulp. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
  • Put the bowl in the freezer and stir the contents every 20 minutes for the next 2 hours. This prevents it from freezing into a hard block of ice.
  • The sorbet is best eaten fresh when the mixture has frozen to the right consistency (I don't know how you like your sorbet, but I like it when it is a nice, firm slush that can hold its shape). Once the sorbet has formed, you can also keep it in the freezer until you are ready to eat. Just leave it at room temperature for a minute or two until it is soft enough to scoop out into bowls.


  1. The mangoes right now are truly delicious! I always buy the "small round" ones, the ones that don't go soft too easy. Some people like the grafted version (called "greffés") but I prefer the natural ones. Those you can never get hold of in Sweden! Mango sorbet is perfect for hot season! Also recommended for smoothies (mango&yoghurt)!

  2. Can't wait to try this one! We get our mangos from Chile here I think.
    Thanks for the great recipe!