Mango Tango in a Pie

I can’t stop thinking about mangoes. I always crave them, lust after them, so when they’re plentiful at the market, I go bananas! (and that’s saying something seeing as how I dislike bananas). I’ve cooked with mango. I’ve moussed¬†it, but I still want more mango ways. I started thinking about a pie, wondering how it would turn out. So I went for it. Secure in the fact that The Hubbz and B-Boy would dispose of it had it¬† not met my high mango criteria.

As luck would have it, they did eat it up. I only had a small morsel of it because I ended up with one of those tummy bugs. By the time I was better, the pie had moved on to a better life. Boys will be boys.  But the piece I had was to die for.

Originally I thought about serving it with vanilla ice cream, but The Hubbz, being addicted to whipped cream, insisted on that alternative. The results were perfect. The pie is a bit robust, so the lightness of the cream made for the best combo ever.

Let’s talk crusts. Do you have a favorite, no fail recipe (easy)? I’ve tried the one by Melissa d’Arabian from Food Network and I find it to be delicious and super easy, but please share yours. I’m always looking for a better crust. And now, without further ado, I bring you some Mango¬†Tango Pie!

Melissa d’Arabian¬†Pie Crust
Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts

1 cup butter (2 sticks), cubed and chilled
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 to 10 tablespoons ice water

Put the butter, flour, and salt in the food processor, and pulse lightly just until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each spoonful of water. Keep adding water until the dough just begins to gather into larger clumps.

Transfer equal amounts of the dough into 2 resealable plastic bags and pat each into a disk. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling:
4 cps of ripe mango, sliced against the grain
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp flour
Pinch of salt
Juice of 1/2 lime (or lemon)
2 tbsp chilled butter, cubed
1 egg, beaten

Prepare the mango: peel and slice. Because mango is a very fibrous fruit, make sure to slice it against its natural grain, this way you’ll avoid having a stringy filling.

When the mango is ripe, it will be juicier. Once you have removed most of the meat, squeeze¬†what’s left on the pit to extract¬†some of the juice. Place the meat and juice in a medium-sized bowl and add the sugar, flour, lime, salt stirring it well, but with care.

Preheat oven to 325¬į.¬†Remove 1 of the dough¬†disks from the bag to a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling-pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round. Gently fit the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie pan and add the filling. It is best if it seems like you have too much filling. Dot it with the cubes of butter, before rolling out the 2nd disk of dough.

Brush the edges with the egg before placing the second crust over the top, then trim any excess dough and crimp the edges together. Lightly brush with the egg. Cut a few holes on the top, this will allow the steam to vent without any oozing filling along the sides.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, checking it after 30 minutes or so. I like to cover the edges with foil paper after a while to keep them from browning too much.

Once golden brown, allow it to cool before serving.

Cookingly yours,


Más tomates!

I do love tomatoes. In Panama, my sister and I used to eat them like fruit. I remember how flavorful they are when picked just right. Slightly tart and sweet, always juicy. YUM! I love the different varieties: cherry, grape, here recently I’ve been introduced to raisin tomatoes. Tiny little things, filled with flavor. I haven’t tried the infamous heirloom tomatoes yet, what can you tell me about them?

Moving on. My previous post was for a tart¬†I saw Chuck Hughes prepare, today¬†I’m bringing you a variation on that tart. As much as I liked the original, I kept thinking of other ways to enjoy it. I happened to have some avocados ready to go, and they were the primary source of inspiration. This time the flavors come a bit further South of the border. I also switched to puff pastry instead of phyllo sheets.

Tomato & Avocado Tart

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cp queso fresco, shredded
3/4 cp queso Oaxaca or Monterrey Jack, shredded
1 avocado, peeled & thinly sliced
4-5 Roma tomatoes (or whatever you have around)
Cilantro leaves, torn
Sea salt & black pepper

Preheat oven to 400¬į. Use a rolling pin¬†to stretch out the pastry, just enough to make sure it covers the bottom of the pan you will bake it in. I used a tart pan, but a baking sheet would also work. Place the pastry sheet on the bottom of the pan, pulling some of the dough up the sides to create an edge.

Brush on the mustard, then top evenly with the cheese, make sure you cover th entire surface. Next lay the avocado slices across the bottom.

Slice the tomatoes to about 1/4-inch thick and top the avocado with the tomato slices. You can overlap them, if you’d like. Tear a few cilantro leaves and spread them around. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground¬†pepper.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until the puff pastry is nicely golden brown. Allow it to cool for just a few minutes before serving.

Oh yeah, baby.

Cookingly yours,

Tart, tart, limey tart

There I was, mid-Saturday morning and I was watching Ina Garten on the Food Network. She was making desserts. She was making me hungry. As luck would have it, I was scheduled to attend a little get-together that evening and I don’t like showing up empty-handed. The perfect excuse to make that yummy looking lime tart. Yeah, because I needed an excuse.

I think I was drawn to it because it reminded me of a lemon pie my sis would make when we were growing up. Much like Ina’s, my sister’s pie was topped¬†with meringue. I still don’t love meringue. I don’t enjoy the consistency of it. Or the fact that the sugar starts sweating syrupy beads after you put it in the fridge.

The other similarity was a pie crust, except Ina used a sweet pastry. I saw her mix and knead and refrigerate and roll the dough. It wasn’t happening. More work than I wanted to do on a lazy¬†Saturday mid-morning. So, I tweaked and it was a hit. Instead of Ina’s involved pastry, I used the recipe for my favorite sweet crust. I suggest making the filling first, that will allow it to cool before filling the tart shell.

Lime Tart

1 stick butter
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup flour

If your butter is soft enough, you can mix this by hand, I ended up putting all of it in the mixer. Combine the butter with confectioners’ sugar, then add flour; mix well. Pat out on tart pan, it may be kind of thin, but don’t worry, it will work out.

Once you’ve spread the dough all the way¬†up the sides of the pan, cut out a piece of foil paper and rub with butter or a bit of oil. Press the greased foil onto¬†the crust, then fill it with baking beads or beans. This is called blind baking; it will prevent the crust from bubbling up because¬†there isn’t filling in it. ¬†Bake at 350¬į for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove the foil, prick with a fork a few times and return to the oven for another 5-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.

Lime filling:
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs
3 extra-large egg yolks
2 tbsp finely grated lime zest (4-6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp cornstarch

In your mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it binds together–about 3-4 minutes (I used the egg beater of my Kitchen Aid). Slowly add the eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, and then add the lime zest, lime juice, salt, almond extract and cornstarch. Don’t worry, if it looks curdled, but make sure you’re using a spatula to release any bits that are not picked up by the mixer’s beater.

Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until thick, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When it begins to thicken, switch to a wire whisk and cook over low heat for a minute or two, whisking constantly. Don’t allow it to boil!¬† Pour into a bowl, place plastic wrap directly over the filling¬†and cool to room temperature.

Yield: 3 cups

Once the shell and filling have cooled, pour the filling into the tart shell. Top with whipped cream and strawberry coulis, if desired.

For whipped cream: Add 3/4 cp of chilled¬†heavy whipping cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract to your mixer’s bowl. Whip at medium high speed and slowly add 3 tbsp white sugar. Beat until soft peaks form. Spread this whipped cream over the top of the filling.

After I covered it with cream, poured about 3/4 cp of strawberry coulis into a baggie, snipped the tip and piped it over the cream in a circular pattern.

Then I used a toothpick to drag the coulis through the cream. I realized I should’ve stayed closer to the surface, I seem to have pushed the toothpick a bit too deep.

It was still pretty. See?

Nutty Apple Squares

Honeycrisp Apples, of course!

I told you I would come up with some ideas to bake with my beloved Honeycrisp Apples. This little treat turned out quite well (after 2 tries), I got the inspiration from pecan squares, Houston’s apple cobbler and my dear friend’s pizza pie.

I took Dorothy’s (Dodo as I call her) pizza pie crust recipe and topped it with my interpretation of Houston’s cobbler–best in town. The result was a buttery crust topped with caramely apples and toasty nuts. And if you really want to indulge, serve it a la mode with some Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. Oh yeah!

Preheat oven to 325¬į
1-1/2  sticks butter, softened
1-1/2 cp flour
1/3 c. powdered sugar

You can mix the¬†above ingredients by hands, believe me, I love my Kitchen Aid, but this is just way easier than washing the bowl and beater later. Incorporate the butter, sugar and flour; this dough will be very soft and pliable. Then spread onto¬†a 11×17 inch cookie sheet. Don’t attempt to roll it, just pat it out on the cookie sheet. You want the depth of the dough to be about 1/2-inch thick. Bake at 325¬į for 10 minutes, you don’t need to get it completely browned as it will be going back in the oven.

Raise oven’s temperature to 350¬į
2 cps apples, peeled & diced
1/2 cp water
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cp firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cp honey
1/4 cp corn syrup
2/3 cp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp whipping cream
3/4 cp each pecans and walnuts, coarsely chopped

In a saucepan, combine the apples, water and lemon juice over medium heat. Cook the apples until slightly soft and the water is absorbed. In the same pan, add the sugar, honey, syrup, vanilla, and spices, then stir in the butter over medium-high heat until melted and it all begins to bubble. At this point, turn off the heat, stir in the cream then the nuts.

Pour this hot filling into prepared crust and bake at 350¬į for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Cool completely before cutting into 2-inch squares. This recipe yields about 24 squares.