I have been fortunate enough to avoid an entire month of the sometimes painfully cold Toronto winter while on vacation during the last few weeks in a blissfully warm tropical Guyana. Revisiting my childhood kitchen has brought back memories long since forgotten. I still remember being intimidated at the sheer height of the kitchen counter and the job which my mother did with repetitive diligence everyday. She fed a family of five with curries and stews of the most incredible local meats and seafood imaginable. Among other dishes, there were also pastries and cakes made from unique and exotic local fruit that exist nowhere else in the world. The unsolved mystery of my chubbiness becomes more apparent when I think about it, I just could not get enough! The kitchen seems so small now and my respect for the humble ingredients that nurtured my early understanding of food has since been magnified.
On this particular trip, the mangoes were the perfect embodiment of bold and robust flavour. I can’t help but wonder if the accounts of El Dorado’s existence in Guyana were not in fact a direct reflection of the seasonal golden mangoes in December. They are absolutely extraordinary, I can’t emphasize this enough, and deserve to take centre-stage in my first recipe of this trip; a simple butterscotch mango mousse. The mousse itself is made only of mangoes and heavy cream, with no extra sugar. The idea is to let the mangoes shine on their own merits, and they do so with noble brilliance. The butterscotch lends a helping hand in establishing a complimentary sweet profile and the amaretto biscuit crumble contributes a textural difference and introduces an earthiness to establish a very delicate flavour contrast. This is essential in establishing balance and elevating the recipe to something truly special. The recipe is as follows:
- Make the butterscotch by placing 100g of demarara sugar with 40g of unsalted butter and 150 ml of heavy cream into a pan at low to medium heat until the light brown butterscotch color becomes apparent, about a minute of two after the sugar has melted and the butter has dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool.
- Chop the flesh of four ripe mangoes reserving a few slices for presentation. Pour 400 ml heavy cream with the chopped mangoes into the blender and blend until creamy.
- Into the serving glasses place 1 to 2 tbsp butterscotch and then pour over the mousse. Finish with a little more butterscotch. Place in the fridge until mousse is set and ready to serve.
- To present, crumble over amaretto biscuits and place one of the reserved mango slices on top.