Batido de Mango
Throughout Central and South America, you can taste fruity milkshakes made out of local tropical fruit from papaya to mamey. They’re thick, cold, and delicious, but they don’t leave you feeling as indulged as a hot fudge ice cream milkshake.
Before I left for Cuba, I checked a cookbook out of the library, to brief myself on what I’d be eating. The book, written by a Cuban-American who grew up in Cuban Miami, promised plenty of rice and beans, all kinds of sandwiches on freshly baked bread (not just “Cuban sandwiches”), and fruity milkshakes, also known there as batidos. Excellent, I thought.
But then when I got to Cuba, I didn’t see any fruit milkshakes, not anywhere. I would have looked for them at the stalls of big markets, but there weren’t any big markets. Instead, the Cubans I saw queuing up for cold treats were in from of the ice cream parlors (and man, did they queue!). At breakfasts at the hotels and casa particuliers, we drank incredible fresh juices from papaya, pineapple, and mango. But no batidos.
So when I got home, I decided to nourish the unsatisfied craving with a homemade mango milkshake. Though you can blend fruit with any dairy or non-dairy milk (or cream!), I think the best batidos, like the best iced coffees, contain evaporated or sweetened condensed milk, which provide more substance than whole milk but less intensity than cream. With mango, especially, the thickened milk and the fibrous fruit yield a texture that’s far thicker than any smoothie I’ve every blended. The drink, though made from just two perfectly healthful ingredients, actually looks and tastes like an ice cream milkshake.
- 1¾ cups whole milk or 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ripe mango, peeled, flesh scraped from the seed
- a handful of ice cubes
- Pour the milk into a small saucepan. The wider the pan, the faster it'll evaporate. Bring to a simmer, whisk in the sugar til it's dissolved, then turn the heat to low and cook until the milk has reduced to about 1 cup, which takes an hour or more. Occasionally skim the skin off the top. Cool in the fridge. You can make this ahead of time - just store the evaporated milk in a jar. And, if you use a lot of evaporated milk, here's a cool tutorial for making it in bulk in the slow cooker.
- Combine the mango and ¾ cup of milk in the blender, and gradually increase the speed to high. Blend until smooth and thick, adding more of the milk to reach a pourable consistency that resembles a really good, thick milkshake. Pour into a glass and drink immediately.