I’m beginning to think mangoes are manic-depressive. One day, they’re high-intensity, full of vim and vigor, starring or even taking over an entire meal. They’re like this when you eat them ripe out of hand, in a mango bellini, in mango salsa, lightly caramelized on top a coconut-lime rice pudding, in a cold mango soup. You can’t stop them. They’re gorgeous. They shine. They dazzle.
Other days, they mope around, bored, flavorless, utterly vanishing into whatever dish they’re supposed to liven up. You curse at them under your breath, beg them to at least make an effort with your friends, but they can’t. And you’re sunk.
The depressive mango usually turns up in baked goods, I’ve found. A mango muffin or mango bread sounds wonderful and I’ve experimented with a few recipes in the past. But each time it comes up short. The mango loses its bright flavors and becomes inert.
That’s not to say I didn’t like this bread. I did. But not because of the mangoes. With all the ground cinnamon, ginger, and lime zest, it makes a lovely spice bread. I didn’t have quite enough mangoes, so I added a bit of pineapple and pecans, which gave it a pleasant boost.
The bread had a couple of drawbacks. It was a little too dark and dense for my taste, even though I made a cozy little aluminum foil pup tent for it halfway through the baking process; but perhaps that’s to be expected in a bread that bakes for 1 1/2 hours. Also, and this isn’t something I’d noticed before, but if you bite right into a mango that’s cooked into the bread, the edge of the mango bread where you bit down looks kind of like it’s sprouting very fine hairs. Eek. Makes me wonder if the mango is passive-aggressive, too.