Everyone knows that tossing frozen ripe banana pieces into a food processor will get you an amazing dish of one-ingredient “ice cream”—perfect soft serve right from the processor. Nothing (and I mean nothing) else needs to be added. But then again, you could customize by adding a little peanut or almond butter (or tahini!) or chocolate or cocoa or you name it. Bananas are magical this way because of their sugar, fiber, and starch content—these components prevent them from freezing rock solid and produce a creamy (but cream-free!) texture when blended in a food processor.
Then come mangoes. Compared with bananas, they contain more sugar but less fiber and no starch. But I really thought they could be the next one-ingredient ice cream. I bought a load of Adolpho mangoes at a good price. I peeled and sliced them off of their pits, whacked them into chunks and froze them in a bag. I treated myself to the extra flesh clinging to the pits and waited. A few hours later, I tossed some frozen chunks into the food processer. The resulting “ice cream” had the texture of the creamiest fruit sorbet! I was dead right on that score. But when I tasted, I wanted to add the tiniest pinch of salt. Then I wanted some lime juice. And then some of the lime zest…
Where ripe bananas are good enough to not need ANYTHING, mangoes may need just a little something. Maybe that disqualifies the mango from one-ingredient-ice-cream status, but it doesn’t eliminate them from being easy, dairy free, no-recipe frozen snacks (think popsicles, too). Hold that thought.
I didn’t stop there. Having added salt, lime zest, and juice, there was no going back. I tried adding different types of dairy and just water. I added a modest amount of sugar. I made mango sherbet, sorbet, ice cream, and frozen yogurt. I embellished with basil leaves, and I tried some jalapeño. All the results were good in different ways—all keepers. None were as completely lean and virtuous as the blitzed frozen mango with salt and lime—which you should definitely keep in your back pocket for a refreshing, sugar-free snack—but all are worth making (and easy too).
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Now I’m thinking about cherimoyas… perhaps they are the next one-ingredient ice cream!
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).
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