Mango Ice Cream

A little-known-fact about me: my very first job was at Baskin Robbins…and now I’m a nutritionist (yes, I see the irony).  I didn’t even really like ice cream at the time, but that quickly changed once I started to work there.  With the job, came the knowledge of ice cream standards in Canada and a snobbish upturn of my nose towards our direct competitors as well as the supermarket varieties.

Unfortunately, a lot of the products out there contain questionable ingredients such as “milk solids” and “modified milk ingredients” and while BR stuck to pretty good standards in that respect, there was still the issue of random other ingredients like:

  • colour additives (like tartrazine which may be implicated in reproductive disorders – see study here)
  • stabilizers like carrageenan (which may have immuno-toxic properties – see study here)
  • “natural flavor” (as a consumer, what does this even mean?  If it was clear cut something like ‘mango juice’ or “, they’d be able to label it as such (and so they have with their ingredient, ‘mango pulp’).  But since they cannot/did not in this case, I’m assuming that they chemically extracted something from mango?)
  • “artificial flavor” (soooo, completely synthesized in the lab?)
  • and then they have the white sugar, that’s fairly typical in desserts.

Well, it could be nothing, but honestly, making ice cream from scratch is really nothing (urmmm, it might be a little more work if you don’t have a blender though).  I used heavy cream in this version (which means we’d need to pay attention to portion control), but having several basic ingredients compared to the 20+ questionable ingredients of a prepared product is already a step in the right direction.  This is by no means a ‘health food’, but indulging once in a while is great for the soul. 🙂

Ice Cream Base
  • 3 ripe mangoes
  • 1 1/3 cup heavy cream *
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • maple syrup (optional, to taste) ****

1 day before serving:

  • Puree mango meat and transfer to a thick-bottomed pot.
  • Add cream and vanilla and heat on stovetop over low heat, stirring frequently so nothing sticks to the bottom and scorches.
  • Cook for about 20 minutes on low until cream mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Remove from heat, do a taste-test and add maple syrup, if needed – adjust so that it’s a bit sweeter than you prefer as the freezing process will make it less sweet.
Ice Cream Maker Method:
  • Refrigerate overnight (so that when poured into ice cream maker, the process is faster)
  • Remove from fridge and churn with ice cream maker, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Scoop into freezer container, alternating with dollops of mango ribbon, if desired – see below for recipe.
  • Freeze until ready to serve.
Hand Method:
  • Place mixture into a container and every half hour, give it a vigorous stir with a spoon (a silicone spatula worked super well for me!) and return to freezer.  It is important to constantly stir it to prevent ice crystals from forming – so make sure you stir everything thoroughly.  This process takes about 6 hours (or more, if your freezer isn’t cold enough) – continue stirring until the batch is completely frozen and resembles ice cream.

Mango Ribbon (doesn’t work in hand-stirring method):
  • 1 ripe mango
  • brown rice syrup (optional, to taste) ****
  • Puree mango with syrup, if needed.

* Option to substitute cream with 1 can of coconut milk or coconut cream – I like to use Mae Ploy, 19 oz can).  For this vegan option, I found that using the hand-stirring method works better than in my ice cream maker.

**** Can be substituted with any natural sweetener of your choice, however, it’s a good idea to stick to liquids for ease of integration.  Sweetness depends on ripeness of mango and taster’s preference, so I don’t like to specify a set amount.  Reminder: When you do the taste test, aim to go a little bit sweeter than you would normally because freezing it makes it less sugary.

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