Weekend Baking: Honey Mango Crisp

Honey Mango Crisp is a dessert I had no intention of preparing when I got out of bed on Thursday morning. It was not on my “To Do” list for the day. The product of a few experiences I’ve had during the past year, Honey Mango Crisp came about very unexpectedly.

It began last May when I asked a local, very experienced beekeeper if I could watch as he introduced a new bunch of honeybees to one of his hives. I’ve always been a little afraid of bees, worrying about getting stung. The thought of being so close to thousands of honeybees all gathered in one small box scared me half to death. But I was curious and wanted to learn more about this beekeeping hobby that country folks and city dwellers were grabbing onto.

All the bees in the box above, along with their queen, would continue as roommates in their new hive, a tall white box that reminded me of a file cabinet. Beekeeper, Jon, suited me up with a white outfit and headpiece with face screen that would protect me from the bees. I was told to never wear dark colors when visiting a beehive. The bees may think you are a bear and go into attack mode.

This story is getting long and I know you’re probably wondering when I’ll get to the Honey Mango Crisp. I’m getting there. After being close-up with honeybees, swiping honey with my finger right off the frame pulled from a beehive and sucking the thick, golden syrup from my finger, I was hooked.

I was very apprehensive, watching from a distance as Jon, the beekeeper, slid the frames into the hive, bees buzzing. I did not know I had bees on my suit at the time. Yikes!

Since that time last year I’ve done some reading, exploring the whole beekeeping thing a little more seriously and becoming more intrigued.

This week I attended a beekeeping class, part of the Spring Adventures in Lifelong Learning series in Bemidji. Two experienced beekeepers did an excellent job of explaining the hive, the bees and the hobby. As I was leaving the class, a woman asked me if I had a recipe for Honey Cake. She explained that during World War II, when sugar was rationed, home bakers made cakes with honey. She wished she had a recipe.

The next day I was poring through old cookbooks from my great-aunt, my aunt and my mom, thinking I’d come across a recipe for honey cake. I didn’t. But I did find a recipe for Honey Apple Crisp in a cookbook published in 1940. And, because I had some ripe, sweet, juicy mangoes on my counter and because I had some luscious local honey in my pantry, I decided to modify the 1940′s apple recipe and create Honey Mango Crisp.

It took little time to create this marvelous Crisp with a tropical flair. Since mangoes are so much sweeter than most varieties of apples used for baking, I omitted the sugar in the old recipe, using just a small amount of brown sugar in the crumb topping. I also added shredded coconut to the topping.

The mangoes release sweet juice as they bake. The topping becomes toasted and crunchy. My husband came home from work and dug right into the warm crisp with a spoon, filling a shallow bowl and downing the small serving in no time. He went back to the dish a second time. Between “Wows” and “Oh, mans” I reminded him I was taking the Honey Mango Crisp for the students in my cooking class to taste. Good thing I had at least taken a picture of the just-out- of-the-oven Honey Mango Crisp, because I didn’t have a bit to bring home after class. All students wholeheartedly approved .

The only thing that could possibly make this dessert any better would be tiny scoops of coconut or ginger ice cream melting over the top of each serving.

From time with a beekeeper to beekeeping class to a quest for honey cake — a very accidental route to Honey Mango Crisp. I’m sure this isn’t the end of my honeybee story.

And, my search continues for a Honey Cake recipe.

You can watch as I prepare individual-serving-sized Honey Mango Crisps on a segment of Lakeland Cooks. Click here.

Honey Mango Crisp

  • 4 cups peeled and sliced ripe mangoes
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, chilled
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of a 9-inch round glass baking dish or pie dish. Pile mango slices into buttered baking dish. Pour honey over the mango slices.

In a mini-food processor, whirl flour, brown sugar and salt to mix. Cut butter into small pieces. Add to food processor. Process until mixture forms buttery crumbs. Add coconut and process with one or two pulses. Alternatively, mix ingredients using a pastry cutter or two knives. Clean fingers work well, too.

Sprinkle topping evenly over honey-topped mangoes in baking dish.

Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

11 thoughts on “Weekend Baking: Honey Mango Crisp

  1. Pingback: Honey Mango Crisp and Recipe Roundup | The Heavy Table - Minneapolis-St. Paul and Upper Midwest Food Magazine and Blog

  2. I love mangoes! so I was totally attracted by the combinations of words “honey mango crisp”! The bite of honey must taste different after working with bees live! What an interesting story!

    • Minneville, I love trying the various local honey available in my area. They all have their own unique flavor, depending on what sources the honeybees have been visiting for gathering their pollen. I hope you’ll try the Crisp.

    • Elle, mango and honey are so perfect together. You will love this. Last week I made single-serving-size Crisps by baking the mango, honey and topping in ramekins. They were darling and delicious topped with Häagen-Dazs® Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream. Wow, that was good!

  3. Oh Sue, what a wonderful story, especially the very end, being sure this isn’t the end of your honeybee story. Sounds like you might be on your way to keeping bees yourself. I came into beekeeping in a somewhat round about way myself. As a novice hobby beekeeper I can only say, give it a go! I had a wonderful first year last summer and can’t wait to manage my two hives this summer. I am headed back to Budapest for the third time in June. During my last visit, Carolyn’s husband Gábor took me to a wonderful bee museum and to visit several local Hungarian beekeepers. It was an over the top Hungarian field trip.

    • Oh, Cari, how lucky you are to be going back to Budapest for the third time. I can’t wait to go back for a second time. Carolyn and Gabor always come up with the most adventuresome trips to the country, wineries and all kinds of interesting things. One of these days, I must visit with you about your beekeeping. I am told the hives must have sunshine 2/3 of the day, most importantly in the morning. Living in the woods as I do, there is not a lot of sunshine. I would love to see your hives and learn some of your hobby beekeeping tips.

  4. Hello again! I am so grateful and lucky regarding the Budapest travel. My second trip, last January included stops in London and Paris. My partner, an academic at St. Olaf, was appointed the National Director of the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics, she takes over in June. So, it seems Budapest will be a home away from home for us for many years. She will need to go at least twice a year and of course I hope to join her as often as possible. I am particularly excited to go in warmer weather for the first time! In June we plan another stop in London, a week in Budapest and then stops in Krakow and Stockholm.

    You are right about the bees, they do need sun! I keep my hives on a small private piece of property in Northfield, about 45 minutes south of the twin cities so it would quite a hike for you to see them. In exchange for pollinating services I get access to land. The land owner is a chemically free farmer with a small apple orchard, some apricot trees and a vegetable garden. Apparently he had a bumper crop last year thanks to the bees. Anyway, I am happy to visit with you about them any time! It is a really fun hobby and might be worth clearing some trees (I know, a shameful suggestion) or finding another spot close by. I would prefer to have my hives outside my back door which is legal but there are too many obstacles in the urban setting. Anyway, keep yourself open to the idea!

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