This time of year, Miami is up to its knees in sweet, sticky mangoes and wondering what to do with so much so fast.
By the time I was in high school, my parents had somehow found space for 12 mango trees in our lakefront yard. We had eight varieties, most of which will never be found in a grocery store. My favorite, the Carrie, with its sweet, stringless, custardy flesh, is pale yellow rather than orange and tastes of pineapple and citrus.
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Like busy chipmunks, Mom and I baked pies, cakes, bread. We stirred pots of jam, chutney and salsa. We also sliced and dehydrated hundreds of pounds of the fruit that we bagged and saved for winter. We used to bring fruit to Allen Susser when he had Chef Allen’s just a mile from our house. In exchange for every 100 pounds, he would give a free meal. That was about the only time I remember my folks giving away more than one or two of their precious fruits at a time.
These moist, sweet loaves are by far, the easiest and most popular of all our inventions. Each season, dozens of friends ask for the recipe. That we always share. Any variety will do, but the fruit must be very ripe. They can be wrapped in parchment and foil and stored in the freezer for up to six months.
Miami Mango Bread
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 eggs at room temperature
3/4 cup cooking oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mango puree
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups diced mango (two to three mangoes cut into 1/4-1/2-inch dice)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup coconut, shredded and unsweetened (optional) for topping
1/4 cup demerara sugar (or any coarse sugar like turbinado) for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix well. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with oil, vanilla, puree, zest, sugar. Add liquid ingredients to the dry mixture stirring just to combine. Gently fold in diced mangoes and nuts. Divide evenly into 4 greased and floured (can use baking spray) 7 x 4 inch pans. Top with sugar and coconut. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.