A perfectly ripe mango should have a firm, creamy texture that almost seems to melt in your mouth. They’re so good on their own, that many people don’t bake with them and prefer to eat them as-is. I usually put myself in that category, but I’ve had many mango desserts – from mousses to cakes – that made me re-think that position and start to do more baking with my mangos.
These Mango Bars are a riff on lemon bars, with a custardy topping that is packed with fresh mango – and lots of mango flavor. I started with very ripe mangos and pureed them in the blender (a food processor will work just as well) until they were very, very smooth and then mixed them with sugar, eggs and a little bit of lemon juice to make the mixture for the topping of the bars. The lemon juice doesn’t take away from the mango, but adds just enough acidity to keep the bars from being too sweet and actually highlights the mango flavor even more. As a result, the bars taste like biting in to a ripe mango – but with a slightly more custardy texture. The topping is thicker than you would find on a typical lemon bar, with the color of a bright, ripe mango.
The base for these bars is an easy to make shortbread, which you can simply press straight into your pan with no rolling required. The shortbread is tender and buttery, but it is firm enough to stand up to the mango topping and holds together well when you are slicing it. The bars are good at room temperature and chilled. The recipe makes a fairly large batch, so I typically store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator once they’ve cooled, where they will keep well for several days.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into 8-10 pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tbsp all purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups mango puree (2-3 mangoes)
1/3 cup lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9Ã—13-inch baking pan
Make the crust. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Whizz to combine, then add in butter and pulse until butter is completely incorporated and mixture is slightly sandy. This can also be done by rubbing the butter in by hand.
Transfer into prepared pan and press firmly into an even layer. Bake for about 17 minutes, until set at the edges.
While the crust bakes, prepare the filling.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and flour. Beat in the eggs, followed by the mango puree and lemon juice.
Gently pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 22-24 minutes, until the filling is set.
Cool completely before slicing and use a damp knife to ensure clean slices.
Store bars in the refrigerator, especially on a hot day.
Makes 24 bars.