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.
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.