Bread of the Month: Pureéing mango for quick bread

Idon’t have a lot of experience with mangos, outside of the occasional fresh spear or using frozen chunks (very handy and yummy) for smoothies. Mango is unique in flavor — it is subtle in both taste and texture, iseeming to fuse together peaches, pineapple, melon and citrus. It’s delicious, but not overpowering, a mellow fruit that complements other fruits, usually.

So when I saw that Food52 offered a recipe starring mango, called Dad’s Mango Bread, accompanied by a delicious-looking photo, AND I discovered the recipe had coconut in it, I was sold. I’m always on the lookout for new and unique, potentially tasty quick bread recipes to add to my repertoire.

If I’d had ready access to a whole fresh mango (which do appear in the markets from time to time), I would have gone that route, but on my shopping day, I discovered fresh mango spears, which I thought would serve the recipe well (I imagine frozen and thawed mango chunks would be fine, too).

The bulk of the mango is puréed to a sunny yellow pulp in the blender, with some left out to chop into chunks to be mixed into the bread batter.

The recipe incorporates a neat trick of mixing baking soda with the mango purée…this seems to do two things: the baking soda is activated via the acid in the mango (like vinegar or lemon juice), and the acid in the mango is actually tempered by the soda activation, rendering it less sour in taste.

Making the batter is a simple process of combining eggs, olive oil (light), sugar, coconut, and I added a little vanilla (couldn’t hurt). Flour and baking powder (I also added salt) are whisked together, and once the purée is added to the other wet ingredients, the dry are also mixed in. Yogurt and chopped mango are folded in at the end.

I sprayed my glass loaf pan with cooking spray, lined it with parchment and sprayed again, then filled it up with the golden batter. I couldn’t resist sprinkling a little sanding sugar on top for some sparkle (and impending crunch).

In its more than an hour baking time, the bread blossomed up to a really voluminous loaf, a bit craggier on top than the version I saw from Food52. The aroma while baking reminded me of another curious element in mango — a spicy note without added spice, sort of a light combo of nutmeg and cardamom.

My crunchy, crusted rendition did not disappoint. Beeyond its sweet crumbly crust was a deeply moist and lightly flavored bread I would make again. The taste — soft, peachy and citrusy was accented nicely with that whiff of coconut. I carried some, buttered, to work the next day for my coffee break, a ray of sunshine —via quick bread — to brighten a long afternoon.

Dad’s Mango Bread
By Carmen Ladipo for Food52 (www.food52.com)

1 large mango, puréed (about 1-1/4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons water
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup chopped mango, less than one cm wide
1/2 cup yogurt

Place the mango purée in a large bowl. Separately, combine the baking soda and water, then mix into the mango purée. Let sit for 5 minutes (this is so the mango acidity lessens so your bread doesn’t come out too strong or sour, but instead mellow and rich).

Combine the sugar, eggs, oil, and coconut in a new bowl until well incorporated. Mix this into the mango purée.

Stir in the flour and baking powder, one third at a time. Add in chopped mango and yogurt last, then place in a bread pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes, until the top is plenty browned and firm. Take out and let cool.

Blogger’s Notes: Make sure you use a very light, mild-flavored olive oil. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste to the wet ingredients. I added 1/4 teaspoon salt with the flour and baking powder. I used vanilla-flavored yogurt instead of plain. I sprayed my glass loaf pan with cooking spray in addition to lining it with parchment paper. I removed the bread from the pan while it was still warm and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

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