My mom came to visit us here in Michigan back in 2008. While she was here we invited for dinner an American missionary family who were on furlough in the US. They have lived in the Philippines for a long time so when we asked them what food they wanted us to prepare - they said Filipino, please!!! They've been away for a few months and were terribly missing the usual food they ate in the Philippines so we told them, we'll see what we can make. Naturally, we had some Pancit and perhaps even adobo and lumpia for sure - the top Filipino foods. But for dessert? What shall we serve them?
I know my Mom makes a gorgeous Crema de Fruta so I told her to make it so I will finally know how to prepare it, too. Thankfully, she agreed. So I sort of adapted her Crema de Fruta and turned it into a delicious Mango Float.
I don't really know why it's called Mango Float - perhaps because fresh slices of Mangoes are literally floating in cream and supported underneath by Graham Crackers! I can take that explanation... :-)
My mom's secret in making such a delicious Mango Float (or Crema de Fruta) is in the cream. She adds some freshly pureed mango into the mix which transforms ordinary whipped cream into something sublime. In this version, because I used a sweet-tart mango for the puree (like an Apple Mango) I had to add a little honey to balance the flavor. I also added some vanilla extract to the cream and the result is pure cream heaven. For extra flavor and texture, I also added some sliced Almonds. It was truly superb! If you are allergic to nuts then feel free to omit them totally.
While traditionally, you use very ripe mangoes for this - I could only find semi-ripe, sweet-tart ones in the grocery so I was scared it would be a disaster. On the contrary, it was superb. The sweet-tart mangoes actually cut the richness of the cream so it turned out perfect and quite refreshing. So if you can't find very sweet mangoes, try using the sweet-tart Apple Mangoes (provided they are already quite tender) because they are great for this too. While fresh mangoes are the best for this - for your last option, you can also use the canned ones.
This can also be prepared a day ahead and can be refrigerated until needed. Enjoy!!!
2 Half Pints (236 ml each), whipping or heavy cream, chilled
1/2 - 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk, or to taste
3/4 - 1 cup Mango puree
1/2 - 1 teaspoon, Vanilla Extract
A little Honey, to taste (optional)
3-4 Mangoes, thinly sliced (use soft or tender Mangoes for easier slicing)
1 pack Graham Crackers
6 Tablespoons Sliced Almonds (divided into three)
A few Maraschino Cherries, for garnish
In a mixer beat the cream on high speed until the volume increases and the mixture thickens about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and gently stir in the condensed milk. Add the vanilla extract and mango puree. Adding a small amount of Honey is optional. I added it because the mangoes I had were sweet-tart so to balance it out I mixed some honey. I believe the small amount of honey made a difference in the taste, too. If your mango is already sweet it may not be necessary. Adjust the sweetness to your liking.
Assemble the Graham Crackers on the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish (has to be freezer-safe). Fill in the gaps with smaller pieces.
Spread 1/3 of the cream mixture on top of the Graham crackers.
Arrange the mango slices on top of the cream. You can arrange them however you want to. Sprinkle with about 1/3 of the sliced Almonds.
Repeat the process twice. For the third layer you can add some Maraschino Cherries for garnish. You can add as many Mango slices as you have available. Sprinkle with the remaining sliced Almonds.
The next step is very important. Whether you are serving it in a few hours or the next day - you need to chill it properly. Immediately after assembling the dish, cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for at least an hour - preferably 2 hours. This will help set the cream. Transfer to the fridge and chill for another 1-2 hours and then serve. If serving it the next day then, after freezing it, just place it in the refrigerator overnight and take out and serve when needed. It should come out perfect and easy to slice and will not disintegrate.
Can you see how yummy it is?
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