Save-the-day Mango Dessert

Right, so you finally got your act together and invited those friends over for dinner.

You know the ones…..

They are invited to every birthday of yours, and you to theirs.  And each time you see them, there are promises that you must catch up properly soon, that it’s been far too long and that you really shouldn’t let that much time go by before you see each other next.

But somehow as earnest and genuine all these promises are, before you know it six months have gone by before you finally do get around to inviting them over.

So the day arrives and you have this menu of mammoth proportions planned in your mind.

You jump out of bed, bright eyed and bushy tailed (ok, so in my case it’s usually a reluctant and creaky scramble out of bed after at least 3 hits of the snooze button, but I’m guessing there are some (insane) morning people out there).

So once you’ve done whatever it is you need to do in the morning to return you to some semblance of a human being, you go to the gym, stop off at the supermarket on your way home to get supplies and before you know it, half the day is mysteriously over.

Please tell me I’m not the only person this happens to….?

Vacuum, bathrooms, laundry, make the main meal, tidy up the living room, make a salad, load dishwasher, clean kitchen, pick out not-too-mainstream-but-not-too-weird music for the evening, shower, find clothes, wear clothes, put wine in fridge.

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And somewhere in all that, the likelihood of actually making that cheesecake or pannacotta or apple pie that you had planned for dessert becomes but a tiny speck on the horizon.

This is when this dessert saves the day.  A dessert so impressive but more importantly, so ludicrously easy that it will catapult you from barely organised slightly frazzled hostess to certifiable domestic goddess.

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A layer of jelly (or jell-O depending which hemisphere you’re at) topped by a mango fool and garnished with something crunchy.  Serve it in a martini glass and it’ll be ultra sexy (hey, it worked for Beyonce), or in a drinking glass or glass jars for super cute quirkiness.

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Easy Mango Dessert

Get:

1 packet mango flavoured jelly crystals (to make 500ml jelly)
Flesh of 2 small mangoes or 425g tin of mango in syrup
Pinch Saffron
3 tsp caster sugar
Insides of 8 cardamom pods
300ml fresh whipping cream

Make:

Make the jelly according to packet instructions.  If using martini glasses, pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into each glass.  Drinking glasses may fit a little more jelly.  Chill for at least 4 hours to set.

Blitz the mango with 2 tsp water or syrup (if using tinned), saffron and 1/2 tsp sugar to achieve a thick saucy consistency.  Add a little more water or syrup if needed.  Taste and add more sugar if required.

Using a mortar and pestle or an electric grinder, powder the cardamom with 1/2 tsp sugar.  Place the cream in a deep bowl.  Using a hand held electric beater, whip the cream on medium speed until soft peaks are achieved.  Be careful not to go too far as there is a fine line between soft and firm peaks.  Sprinkle cardamom sugar as well as the remaining 2 tsp sugar over the whipped cream and beat on low speed until mixed.  Taste and add more sugar if required.

Add mango sauce to cream and fold in gently to create a swirled through effect.

Divide cream between the glasses, placing on top of the firm jelly.

Top with garnish of your choice, preferably something with crunch.  I used some fresh coconut and almond flakes, toasted gently in a dry frypan over the stove.  Half a tablespoon of each per glass should do it.  Crushed meringues, pomegranate seeds, berries, any other nuts and chocolate shavings would also make great toppings, but feel free to unleash your creativity into the glass.

Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.DSC_0602

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