Mangos are my favorite fruit. I grew up eating them fresh, dried, in salsas, salads and in desserts. My family loves mangos, too. We by them by the box-full if we can find a good deal. Lucky for you, I found a good deal and now I can talk about dessert.
Last Sunday we had our annual block party/culture celebration. On our cul-de-sac we have 9 homes and 7 different nationalities (American, Eritrean, Iraqi, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Mexican, Filipino, Chinese). We all bring food from our heritage. My parents were attending the party so we got the Filipino part covered (I can’t make pancit the way my dad does). Since dessert is usually lacking, I decided to make a few tarts to represent our household (a little nutty, a little sour, but sweet enough to satisfy).
This tart was delicious — not too sweet with just enough tartness to cut through the creamy lime filling. Not to mention the shortbread was a nice compliment to hold it all together. My husband loved it so much that he talked about it the next day (which hardly ever happens).
But before I move on to the recipe, let’s talk mangos…
The full recipe is at the bottom of the post
There are two types of mangos that you can typically find in the market – Kent and manila (also known as yellow or honey mango). Kent mangos originate from the US and are red/green in color, more firm and fleshy, with a thick seed (or “bone”). The flavor has more of a floral/citrus essence to it. The manila mango is grown in Mexico has a yellow color, has a distinct paisley shaped and is soft when ripe. The manila mango tends to be sweeter with a more in-your-face “hey I’m a mango” flavor. The manila mango is what I used for this tart.
I was surprised when people tell me they don’t eat mangos because it’s a PITA to peel. I didn’t realize that people didn’t know the easy way to eat a mango. Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret — you don’t really need to peel the mango to eat it. Just cut it!
There’s a broad side and a narrow side to a mango. If you turn it to the narrow side, the “bone” is located in the center third of the mango.
To prepare for eating, you just cut on the sides of the bone, score squares or diamonds in the flesh, and flip it inside out to eat. I’ve been eating these mango “turtle shells” since I was a kid. What about the bone? You can peel it with a knife then scrape it with your teeth. It’s not the most elegant thing to eat. You’ll get strands of mango in between your teeth but at least it’ll force you to floss.
So how about the mangos for this tart?
Here’s how I cut the mango for this tart: Cut off the ends. Stand it on it’s bottom. Peel around the mango. Cut in thirds (next to the bone). Slice thinly. Thin is the key. You want the mango to be pliable for this tart.
I used about 3 mangos to make two tarts. Since some of the mangos were a little on the sour side and more firm, I macerated them by placing the slices in a bowl and covering it with 1/4 cup of sugar. I let it sit, covered, for about 30 minutes while I prepared the rest of the tart.
To make the crust, toast sweetened coconut on the stove or in the oven until it turns brown, being careful not to burn it.
Pulse it in the food processor with flour, cold butter cubes, salt, and powdered sugar until it comes together. Press it in a tart pan with a removable bottom. Prick the bottom of the crust and bake at 425°F for about 12-15 minutes.
Once cooled, you can seal the crust with a preserve that would compliment the filling. In this case, I used key lime marmalade. You just need to heat a little jam with a small bit of water until it melts and then brush it onto the inside of the crust. It keeps the bottom from getting too soggy with the filling.
This is my go-to filling when making quick tarts. It’s basically cream cheese, heavy cream, sugar and some kind of citrus. To complement the flavor of the coconut and mango, I added lime zest and lime juice to the mix. I whip it up together until it’s fluffy and it spreads beautifully in a tart. It’s also firm enough to pipe and is gorgeous on mini-tarts.
To make a rosette, you start placing slices on the outer edges of the tart and work your way in, while slightly overlapping each row. You’ll soon find that the mango pieces will curl upward and form into a rose.
And now the full recipe:
Mango Tart with Coconut Shortbread Crust
Ingredients for the Coconut Shortbread Crust
- 1 cup of sweetened coconut
- 1-1/2 cup of all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup 2 sticks of cold butter cut in cubes
- 3 tablespoons of Lime Marmalade or any complimentary preserve - apricot would be great, too
- 1 tbsp water
Ingredients for the Mango Topping
- 3-4 ripe manila mangos thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Ingredients for the filling
- 8 oz 1 package cream cheese
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 tbsp lime zest
- 2 tbsp lime juice
Make the Coconut Shortbread Crust
Toast sweetened coconut in a pan until brown or bake in an oven on a sheet pan for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Place the toasted coconut, flour, salt and powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add butter and process until it just comes together (don't over-process it). Divide the mixture evenly between two 9-1/2" tart pans with removable bottoms. Press the dough evenly on the bottom and the sides. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F while you are waiting.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
Once cooled, heat preserves with 1tbsp of water until liquified. Brush onto the bottom and sides of the pastry shell.
Make the topping
Slice the mangos and place in a bowl. Add sugar and gently toss with your hand. Allow to sit, covered, for about 15-30 minutes.
Make the filling
Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, place the cream cheese and sugar and whip until smooth, occasionally scraping the sides. Add the heavy cream, lime juice and lime zest and whip until firm.
Distribute the filling evenly between both tarts. Using an offset spatula, smooth down the filling in the tart.
Start placing mango slices on the outer edge of the tart and work your way in, slightly overlapping the rows.
To finish, curl a single mango slice and place in the center.
You can make this up to one day in advance. Just keep it covered in the refrigerator. If you aren't serving this immediately, you may want to glaze the mangos with the same mixture of preserves and water to retain the moisture in the fruit.