It is summer, the time when the king of fruits – Mango – makes its appearance and casts a magical spell on the entire populace, be they young or old.
From children to senior citizens one finds everyone enjoying mangoes not only in its original format but also as desserts.
Bakeries and F&B outlets vie with each other to create magical conceptions that will not only please the eye but also the taste buds.
Ashok Malkani looks at the magical charm that mango desserts have not only in India but all around the globe. The list of desserts is endless and what is more – mangoes also have health benefits.
Mango, India’s national fruit is not only popular within the country but is also well liked and accepted globally. The start of summer heralds the much-awaited harvest season, from April to July, with the fruit bringing relief from the heat, of sorts, since it can be served as a cool drink or in a refreshing desert format. Mango is more than a fruit in India.
It is an intrinsic part of the country’s culture, found in religion, art, poetry and literature. Emperors have lusted after it, while poets have penned couplets extolling its virtue. In India, the entire population of over a billion people, eagerly await its seasonal arrival.
To know about the history of this exotic fruit one may quote Dr Indu Mehta, a professor of history at Kumaun University in Nainital who has, in her research paper, “History of Mangoes – King of Fruits”, stated, “Scientific fossil evidence indicates that mango made its first appearance 25 to 30 million years ago in the northeast part of India, as indicated by its botanical name, Mangifera indica [meaning an Indian plant bearing mangoes], and took its current form around 4,000 years ago when it began to be cultivated.”
Portuguese traders are credited for introducing the mango to the rest of the world. The Portuguese, when they arrived in India in the 15th century, were fascinated by this fruit which they referred to as manga (a combination of the Tamil word maam-kay and Malayalam word manga). The manga subsequently, became mango.
The Portuguese not only established international mango trade but also grafted specimen of trees which led to the creation of the most popular variety of mango – the Alphonso – named after the famous Portuguese general, Alfonso de Albuquerque (1453-1515).
While most of the people enjoy mango in its original form they abound in diverse culture of Indian cuisine. Desserts are a delicacy where mangoes find a place of pride.
Mahesh Nasare, Pastry Chef, The Westin Mumbai Garden City, states, “As the king of fruits, mango is every household favorite and hence very much appreciated in the dessert world for its refreshing tangy and sweet taste with vibrant colour that brings any dessert to life.”
He adds, “As far as age group is concerned, it is loved by all age groups since it blends well with various other sweets like chocolate, ice creams, pie or soufflé, to name a few.”
Ashish Tiwari, executive chef, Crown Plaza New Delhi Rohini, expressing his views on this fruit claims that mango, which is the king of fruits, is the most popular fruit in India. He asserts, “Desserts made from mango are very popular in India and even world across. Mango has a lot of characteristics which makes it great for combination with other ingredients. Mango goes very well with coconut, milk, yoghurt, Chocolate etc. That’s the reason mango is popular in every region of India, with different combinations, as dessert. It is enjoyed by all age group but is relished by young and old age group of people.”
Kamlesh Salve, executive chef, the Mirador Mumbai, claims “Mangoes are a tradition especially in Maharashtra. Mangoes are probably the best part about summers. This juicy and sweet fruit is perfect to beat the summer heat and also to satiate those sweet cravings. From desserts or Indian mithai, there are tons of recipes one can make with this one basic fruit. If you have a sweet tooth and love something sweet after a meal, then here are some amazing options for you.
Be it a family dinner, get together or kitty party, you can offer mango desserts to your guests and everyone will love them for sure. Mangoes are loved by all age groups be it a kid, teenager, adult or senior citizen all love mangoes to the core.”
Kshitiz Shekhar, chef, Hotel Marine Plaza, Mumbai declares, “Mangoes are the best fruit for preparing desserts. It is very popular in India as there are endless varieties of mangoes grown in India. It is used in both Indian mithai & international desserts.”
He adds, “Mangoes are loved by all the age groups. It is easily digestible as the pulp is soft. So everyone – from a small child to senior citizen – can have it.”
Though mango desserts are loved by everyone irrespective of age, several people are left yearning for desserts made from this fruit, for long durations, since it is seasonal.
However, the consensus among the F&B fraternity is it is possible to prepare mango desserts throughout the year.
Ashish claims, “Mango desserts are in demand throughout the year, but when the mangoes are naturally available in summer seasons and with the abundance of availability in India, demand and offering of mango desserts increases in summer season. Most of us want to consume fresh products and seasonal offerings.
That is why the demand is high during the season.”
He continues, “However, the mango desserts can be prepared throughout the year since the mango and its bi-products are industrialized. We get mango puree, pulp and mango extracts in preservative forms. As an example mango ice-cream is available throughout the year.”
Mahesh declares, “With modern technology, it is possible to preserve the fruit in pulp form so that it can be used throughout the year. Having said that it is a seasonal fruit and must be relished while the supply is fresh which leaves you wanting more the following season.”
He adds, “The demand for mango desserts increases as the season arrives and lasts until a few months post-season. This is because the true flavour with its significant aroma of the fruit is best enjoyed from the organic produce made during the season.”
Kshitiz disclosed, “Mangoes are available throughout the year in the form of pulp or puree. It can be used to make desserts across the year. Now a day mangoes are imported from other countries where they are in the season there. Few varieties like Barahmasia can give fruit throughout the year.”
He asserts, “Mango desserts are in demand not only during the season but throughout the year. This is one of the fruits which is cherished by everyone, and desserts made from this fruit find favor throughout the year.”
Kamlesh says, “While the exact number of mango varieties is uncertain, there are at least 500 and perhaps as many as 1,000 with 350 grown commercially worldwide. In India, the world’s largest producer, mango types are usually classified as early, early to mid-season, mid-season, mid-to-late season, and late-season. Thus some variety is available throughout the year.
“Common early-season mangoes are Bombay Yellow, Malda, Pairi, Safdar Pasand, and Suvarnarekha; early to mid-season are Langra and Rajapuri; mid-season types include Alampur Baneshan, Alphonso, Bangalora, Banganapally, Dusehri, Gulab Khas, Zardalu, mid-to-late season are Rumani, Samarbehist, Vanraj, and late-season types include Fazli, Safeda Lucknow, Mulgoa, and Neelum. Depending on the availability one can plan the menu accordingly, or else there is always an option of canned and frozen mango puree.”
Kamlesh is of the opinion that mango desserts are in demand only during the mango season as the benefits of eating a fresh mango is preserved during this period. “So, many people tend to avoid mango dessert off the season due to its taste, texture and nutritional value,” he concludes.
Mango is not the only fruit used for desserts. Naturally sweet and full of flavour fruits make perfect addition to cake recipes, pie recipes and other treats.
So which is the most popular fruit used for making desserts?
Ashish declares, “If I talk about the entire world, “Berry family” fruits are used more to make dessert.”
Mahesh too is of a similar view. He says, “Berries are one of the most essential fruits for desserts. For a pâtissier, they are not only a good addition of richness but also add a refreshing hint of flavour to the dessert while making it appealing to the eyes with their colors.”
Kamlesh is more elaborate. He says “There are several fruits which can be used for desserts, giving the delicacy colour, flavour and important nutrients to your diet. There are so many choices – citrus fruits (like oranges and grapefruit), various kinds of berries, besides fruits that grow on trees like apricots, cherries, peaches, grapes, figs and pineapples. Mango, of course is the most loved one.
“The different kinds of fruits used for desserts are as follows:
Apple: Apples work well with pastry cream and dried fruits such as walnuts, almonds or pistachios in baked goods. Apple tart or apple sponge cake are some of the most popular cakes in the whole world due to their perfect mix of acidity and sweetness. There are many varieties of apples, which makes it easier for professional bakers to find one with the flavour and texture which they desire.
Kiwi: This fruit is in season between October to March, the same as apples, and also work incredibly well with pastry cream. Their bright green colour and distinct flavour are their main assets, either chopped into small pieces to decorate the top of a cake or as a main ingredient. They can be served with bananas, apples, pineapples and oranges.
Citric Fruits: Oranges, lemons, tangerines, grapefruits and limes are all used in baking to counterbalance sweetness and provide a nice acidic tang to the final product. They are used in making tarts, jellies, ice creams, confectionary and many varieties of desserts. Both candied and fresh citric fruits are used in this way.
Banana: this superb tropical fruit is often served with many kinds of chocolate, as well as alongside strawberries or raspberries. They are used in tarts, cakes, muffins, caramel desserts and ice creams. Banana is often served as a side dish with rice and meat.
Peaches and Apricots: both fruits are used by professional bakers in order to make jams and fruit pastes, cakes, tarts, flans, confectionary or crumbles. They can be served with apples, bananas, cherries and strawberries. They add an innovative flavour to cakes, ice creams and milkshakes.
Fruits of the forest: blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, and blackberries are regularly used in factory-baked goods, in desserts, cakes, jams, sauces, salads or as a side dish for meat stews.”
Mango desserts are appreciated and loved all over the globe.
Mahesh disclosed, “There are several other countries, besides India, which experiment with mango desserts – like the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Mexico, and Brazil – besides India, creating a demand for mangoes. As one of the highest-producing nations, India recognizes mango and its dessert adaptations as a substantial part of its dietary regimen during the season.”
Ashish avers, “US, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East are the countries which have high demand of mango dessert, as people there are fond of mangoes. These countries import mangoes.”
Kamlesh extrapolates, “Well someone said…..”India is to mangoes as Bordeaux is to wine”. Other countries, besides India, which love mango desserts are, primarily, UAE, Saudi Arabia, UK ,USA and Asia Pacific zones including China, Vietnam and Korea and Canada and Spain amongst the developed markets who have demand for mango desserts.”
Kshitiz informs, “Besides India, China, Thailand, Indonesia & Mexico are the countries having highest demand and consumption of mangoes. India produces 30% of the global production of mangoes followed by china which stands 1/4th of India.”
There are not only an immense number of mango desserts but they are also available in various formats like hot, cold, liquid and solid.
Kamlesh states “Mango desserts can be had hot or cold liquid as well as solids.
“They are as Mango Pastries (Mango Cream Tart, Mango Cheesecake, Mango Tiramisu, Mango Coconut Scones, Mango Crepe Cake, No-Bake Mango Pie), Frozen Mango Desserts (Mango Macadamia Ice-Cream Cake, Mango Almond Icebox Cake, Mango Sorbet, Mango, Coconut and Mint Popsicles, Strawberry Mango Sorbet, Mango Fro-Yo Bark). Some Of The Indian Mango Desserts Are Mango Phirni, Mango Kulfi, Mango Shrikhand, Mango Peda, Mango Lassi, Aamras, Mango Falooda, Mango Raita.
“Mango Is also used in preparation of Cakes. Some of the bakery products which use Mangoes are: Mango Granola Bar, Vanilla Mango Muffins, Fresh Mango Tarts, Fresh Croissant Topped with Mango Relish, Mango Doughnuts, Mango Danish, Mango Tea Cakes, Mango Cupcakes, Mango Mawa Cake, Mango Bread And Mango Cookies
Kshitiz declares, “Both hot & cold desserts are widely made using mangoes. For example, Mango Crème Brulee, Mango Hot Toffee etc. are hot desserts and Mango Pannacotta, Mango Cheese Cake is cold. Some of the popular desserts made from mango are Mango Cheese Cake, Mango Tart, Mango Pannacotta, Mango Phirni, Shrikhand, Kulfi & Mango Peda. Bakery products are Mango Tart, Muffins, Strudel, etc.
Ashish avers, both cold and hot desserts are prepared from mango. Mango’s bodily characteristics can be used to enhance dishes and balance contrasting flavours. Cold desserts are prepared more compared to hot.”
He adds, “Some of the popular desserts are: Cheesecake, Pastry, Panacotta, Pudding, Pie, Tartice-cream, Sorbet, Amrakhand, Kheer, Phirni.”
Mahesh mentions some of the mango desserts thus: Ice Cream, Sorbets, and Pie. The Indian desserts are: Mango Milk Cake, Mango Barfi, Mango Rasmali, Amaras, Mango Kulfi.
He adds, “Popular cold desserts are Aamras – a classic Indian seasonal dessert, Mango Shortcake, Mango Chili Chocolate, Mango Coconut Pudding, and of course Mango Sorbet. Your favorite warm mango desserts are Mango Upside Down (dry cake), Mango Soufflé, Mango Almond Pie, and Mango Vol-au-vent.
“Among the bakery products, mango can be used in Pudding, Parfait, Pie, Millefeuille, and Mango Flan.”
People nowadays are worried about their health. Several queries are made like – “Will mangoes make me fat? “; “Will mangoes shoot my sugar levels high?”; “Will mangoes worsen my acne?”
Mahesh avers, “Mango desserts are good for health when eaten within limitations of calorie intake.”
Ashish states “Mango is high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is also rich antioxidant. It is known to be healthy fruit. Mango desserts are healthy, but we have to keep in mind about other ingredients’ caloric value as well.”
Kamlesh claims, “Mangoes have several health benefits. They can be summed up thus:
Lowers cholesterol: Mangoes contain fiber, pectin and vitamin C which help in lowering the bad cholesterol. It also contains potassium which helps in controlling blood pressure and maintaining the heart rate.
Remedy for skin problems: Mangoes are a great source of beta-carotene which helps in promoting healthy and glowing skin. Beta-carotene gets converted into Vitamin A in our body which protects the cells from damage. Vitamin A also helps in improving the eyesight. Mango pulp is rich with Vitamin C, which can be applied to the face to make it soft and supple.
Aids in digestion: Mangoes are rich in fiber which makes digestion easy. They also contain certain enzymes that help in breaking down the proteins, ease-up the assimilation of food and elimination of waste from the body. Amchoor or Dry Mango Powder also acts as a digestive aid.
Protects against heat strokes: Mangoes can protect you against heat strokes. Drinks like Aam Panna or Mango Lassi hydrate your body and eradicate the feeling of dryness. According to Ayurveda, mangoes energize the entire system and regulate blood flow.”
Kshitiz warns, “Mango has high sugar content so it’s not recommended for the people who are suffering for diabetics. It’s advisable to consume mangoes in balance quantity as high fiber content may cause diarrhea. Being high in calories mango can cause weight gain.
“On the other hand, it is beneficial for maintaining healthy skin & hairs. It is rich in protective antioxidant. It supports heart health. So mangoes are good for health if they are eaten in a balanced quantity.”
The general perception, however, is that they are good for health. Mango offers a nutrition powerhouse by providing macronutrients, micronutrients as well some polyphenols. Mangoes contain structural carbohydrates such as pectins and cellulose. The major amino acids include lysine, leucine, cysteine, valine, arginine, phenylalanine, and methionine (some of these are essential amino acids and would be available to the body only with dietary sources). The lipid composition increases during ripening, particularly the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are also essential fatty acids needed for the body. Some of the micronutrients include vitamin E, vitamin C, β-carotene, potassium, Vitamin D, most B vitamins (excluding Vitamin B12). Polyphenols found in mangoes include mangiferin, gallic acid, gallotannins, quercetin, isoquercetin, ellagic acid, and β-glucogallin, lutein. Mangoes also contain chlorophylls. Owing to its rich nutritional profile, mangoes exhibit antidiabetic, anti-oxidant, anti-viral, cardiotonic, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory properties.
With the rich nutrient profile that the mangoes offer, here’s how mangoes are beneficial:
Diabetes: Fibers and antioxidants in mangoes don’t let the blood sugar levels rise too quickly.
Weight management: Dietary fibre, ascorbic acid, carotenoids, and phenolic compounds found in mangoes aid in the reduction or prevention of obesity and its associated chronic inflammatory conditions
Cancer: Mangoes are a rich source of immune boosting vitamins and thus known to exhibit anticancer and tumour suppression properties
Gastric Health: Mango has non digestible fibres which feed your good bacteria and improve gut health.
Cardiac health: Potassium helps control the heart rate and blood pressure, which helps keep your heart healthy.
Anti-Aging: Vitamin A and Vitamin C present in mangoes play an essential role in the production of collagen which is a protein that is necessary for keeping the skin cells healthy.
So lets say “cheers” as we down our glass of Aamras or feast on Mango Kulfi or Mango Peda!
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