Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mango Blueberry Kanten

mango blueberry agar agar platter

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 agar agar terrine

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.

mango blueberry agar agar bite

30 comments:

Manger La Ville said...

This reminds me of mango pudding, the tasty gelatin yet creamy dessert you get at chinese restaurants. It looks really cool and the contrast between orange and blue make it look very good.

rachel said...

cool looking dessert. Question: is Agar Agar made with any animal products or is vegetarian? I am desperately looking for a gelatin substitute that works.

Alexa said...

Hey Rachel,

It's seaweed based. No animal products. :-)
If you click on the agar agar link in my text, it will take you to the scoop from wikipedia.

Manger la Ville,
I've never had chinese mango pudding. Sounds good though.

Mary Ann said...

I would trade in jello anyday. This looks amazing. I am sure the flavors are wonderful. It is so pretty too.

Elra said...

Indonesian are very fond of agar-agar. In fact there are thousands of recipe of agar-agar. When agar-agar turn into something that has been cook, they call the end finish product as "podeng or puding". If its contain manggo, they called it puding manggo, or puding this and that.

Your mango-blueberry kanten look very luscious! I am so tempted to borrow your recipe. Well done Alexa.

VeggieGirl said...

What an intriguing dessert!

michelle @ TNS said...

wow, i've never had kanten before but now i really want to - this is *beautiful* - the color, the texture, the dark berries popping against the sea of orange. love!

Robin Sue said...

I have recently read about agar agar but did not have a recipe. Now I think I can do this with out fear! I wonder if Whole Foods will carry this? Thanks!

magpie said...

Ohh goodness that is one tempting dessert!

Leonor de Sousa Bastos said...

This desert is fabulous!!
I love your pictures... your presentation and I wish I could love their taste!

:)

Lucy said...

Utterly gorgeous to look at and, I imagine, must taste heavenly.

Maggie said...

The contrast is stunning! I like agar gels but haven't had any that have the pulp left in. It sounds wonderful!

amritac said...

wow...I could just pop into the screen for one! I'm always on "yes" for fruit desserts but I still go nuts 'bout chocolate...any kind.

Jude said...

Nice glossiness. I was trying to figure out what the flavor the yellow part was. Mangoes and blueberries.. Yum

Dhanggit said...

OMG you almost made me fall from my seat! this is absoulutely mouth-watering!! yay!!

Pille said...

The colours are amazing!!

Alexa said...

Mary Ann,
If you feel this way about jello, you'll love kanten for sure :-)

Elra,
Thank you so much for all this wonderful information. I am glad you liked my version.

Veggiegirl,
It's vegan!

michelle,
I am glad this post inspired you to try kanten.

Robin Sue,
Yes Wholefoods carries it. That's where I bought mine... Have fun trying it out!

Magpie,
Thanks for your comment!

Leonor,
And I wish could send you a slice. :-)

Lucy,
I love the way it looks too. It doesn't matter what fruits you use, it always comes out so pretty.

Maggie,
Mango is perfect because it blends so smoothly. The texture is so velvety.

Amritac, Jude, Dhanggit, Pille,
I am so glad you guys enjoyed the post and the pictures. Thanks for your comments!

Hillary said...

How interesting. At first I thought that was cheese and black olives!

lisa said...

I just made the watermelon pudding from Saveur, and I was thinking mango would even better. Mango-blueberry looks great!

Nora B. said...

Hi Alexa,
Ihey look so pretty! I am sure that they taste very yummy. I am waiting for mango season. Blueberries are available but they are still expensive at the moment.

have a nice weekend,
Nora

Vera said...

This looks fantastic!

Alexa said...

Hillary,
How funny... In all my years of cooking, I haven't made a cheddar loaf yet. :-)

Lisa,
I had to check that issue of Saveur after reading your comment. I was intrigued by the idea of watermelon pudding.

Nora b,
We are trading seasons with you... May yours be full of sweet blueberries and mangos.
Have a great week!

Vera,
Thank you for your comment.

nicisme said...

Great photos and good use of the agar agar. I have some but haven't used it as much as I should.

bee said...

dear alexa, i just found a jar of agar agar in my pantry and debated throwing it out. now i won't. this scores a 10 on gorgeousness.

DragonChaser said...

This looks absolutely amazing. I've been craving some fruity goodness, and this looks like a more exotic turn than just a standard blueberry/mango salad.

Alexa said...

Alexa, this is a wonderful blog! I appreciate your work and thank you for sharing with us all your miracles! Keep up the good work!

Alexa said...

Thanks for your kind words of encouragement Alexa! I love the pictures on your site. You're a talented photographer.

bee said...

made it twice last week and just posted it on my site. it was fantastic. thank you.

bookdeity said...

I tried making this recipe and ended up with more of an apple sauce consistency. :(

Alexa said...

Bookdeity,
I am sorry this recipe did not work for you. It is one I make often.

Some of the rules with Agar agar are: the flakes need to be whisked and simmered in the liquid you are trying to gel for about 5 minutes.Then to avoid clumps, it is best to either mix the mixture in a blender or pass it through a sieve. Agar solidifies the liquid once it cools off in the refrigerator.
Did you use flakes or powder? This could explain the difference in the consistency. This recipe was created with Eden Agar Agar Sea Vegetable Flakes. I hope this helps.

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