Fresh Manila Mangoes are hard to come by where I’m at here in California. I mean there are Mangoes, and there are the Manila Mangoes. The sweet and juicy kind that drip off your cheek, leave a sticky stain on your clothes, but nostalgically takes you back into your childhood experience of summers spent at your lola’s probinsya.
What we have here at least, any time of the year, are dried Mangoes. Now there are dried mangoes you can easily find at any grocery (see dried fruit section where the raisins are at), and there are the Philippine Dried Mangoes (luckily Costco sells them), that are sweeter and more tender that make you come to the conclusion that not all mangoes are created equally.
I love mangoes, and by that I mean Philippine/Manila Mangoes. I prefer them fresh, but had to resort to eating them dried. I love them so much I turned them into something more sinfully indulging…. Mango Bars!
You will need….
For the Crust
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup confectioners ugar
½ cup butter, cubed and softened room temperature
½ tsp salt
½ cup chopped unsalted nuts (this is optional, but I have used walnuts, almonds, pecans, kasuy or cashews)
For the Filling
2 packages (3.5 oz or 100 grams) Dried Philippine Mangoes
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cornstarch
For the Topping
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp mango extract or lemon extract (optional)
What to Do:
Start off by rehydrating your dried Philippine Mangoes by place them in a bowl with water and letting them soak for about an hour. I specifically chose Philippine Mangoes for this recipe because I have tried the other dried mangoes and have found that they don’t work quite as well, which brings me back to my point that not all mangoes are created equally.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.After an hour, drain off the water, and pat them dry. At this point you’d be surprised to find the texture of your once dried mangoes change into almost what fresh mangoes look like. Finely chop and set aside. You can also use a food processor or blender.
Prepare the crust by sifting together to combine the flour and confectioners sugar and salt. Then add the butter and mix to incorporate it with your hands into the flour mixture. The crust will be crumbly in texture. Add the chopped nuts.
Press the crust mixture onto a lightly greased 9 x 12 baking pan until the whole bottom of the pan is covered. You may use the back of the spoon to press it down and evenly distribute the mixture onto the pan and flatten it. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, then set aside and let it cool.
Prepare the filling by mixing together the chopped rehydrated dried Mangoes, lemon juice, which helps prevent the mangoes from oxidizing or turning dark, and the cornstarch which helps hold the filling mixture together. Pour this over the cooled baked crust. Spread evenly over the crust.
Then prepare the topping by combining the eggs, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and mango extract or lemon extract (this just helps bring out more of the sweet and tangy mango taste and although you don’t really have to, opting to add this is really a good choice). Pour the topping mixture over the layer of mango filling.
Bake this for 20 minutes. Let it cool. Dust with confectioners sugar on the top and cut into squares.
Take a bite and drift off momentarily into a tropical paradise!
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Written by Donna
With moving to California and having two kids, Donna traded in her city night-owl-running-on-caffeine lifestyle by becoming a suburban domestic deity. She is a special-ed teacher during the daytime, and a juggler of sorts in the evenings and most weekends. If most people find watching TV or shopping relaxing, she on the other hand, finds running, making lists of things to do, trips to the grocery, crafting, and experimenting with new recipes to be fun.
Check out her blog on cooking, crafting and ideas for other things to do.