Thursday, September 18, 2008
Fruit based desserts are by far my favorites. It wasn't always that way... There was a time when I would have traded my first born (sorry son...) for a good chocolaty treat. Nowadays, I enjoy dark chocolate in small quantities. It's a matter of taste not calories. I don't believe in skimming on taste when it comes to desserts--you end up eating the whole tray and still wanting more.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of making my way through the Millenium Cookbook and was introduced for the first time to Agar Agar as a substitute for gelatin. Then, my friend Ivette, who is an amazing cook, made me a fresh fruit kanten. It was wonderful, kind of like jello but creamier. It had a refreshing feel and taste, unlike anything else I had ever had. Jello lovers might want to throw their congealed transparent treats at me for saying this but Kanten beats jello in taste and texture any day.
After two years of experimenting, my family is unanimous: this mango blueberry version is our favorite.
Mango Blueberry Kanten (serves 6)
3 cups diced ripe mango
1 cup 100% white grape juice
2 tablespoons agar agar flakes (available in natural food stores)
1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
In a small sauce pan, bring the white grape juice to a boil. Add the agar agar, simmer while whisking until flakes melt into the juice (about 5 minutes).
Put mango pieces and agar agar juice mixture into a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a loaf pan (pyrex or ceramic is best). Add blueberries and smooth out by gently pounding loaf pan on the counter. This will help remove any air bubbles. Store in the refrigerator and let set for at least 4 hours. Gently unmold onto a platter or serve straight out of the dish.