This “summer” brought us a guest and boy o’ boy did she appear in all pomp and circumstance fanfare! Donned in a fiery sanguine number, all so thinly cladded, only to reveal her succulent, creamy bosoms in brilliant sunset yellow, alluringly seductive and inviting for one to sink his teeth in, to draw upon all her nectary essence and suck the very bone marrow out of her life. No, I’m not about to embark in some B-grade erotic horror flick, but indeed the taste and textures of Ai Wen Mangoes AWM 爱文芒果 from Taiwan can most certainly be described as being orgasmic, probably something which many of you out there have not experienced for a rather long time. *chuckles*
My virginal concurrence with AWM dated many years back at a dessert parlour in Taipei which boasted to serve 挫冰 shaved ice topped with chunky morsels of it. And it was not just any AWM, but the crème à la crème ones grown in 玉井 Yujing area from 台南县 Tainan County. One mouthful and I was sold!!! Unlike the other asian mango varieties we had back then, the textures of AWM was something which I’d not encountered. The flesh was creamy yet oddly, was also imbued with a bouncy gelatinous like texture, so you can imagine the
foreplay interplay with the tastebuds! The experience was so surreal as its almost like eating fruit jelly. It was also on the dot on the Brix scale with perfectly controlled sugar levels. And the best part was, unlike many other versions available elsewhere, no condensed/evaporated milk or mango puree/concentrate/syrup was added. All naturel! Subsequent trips to Taiwan were all in the “wrong” time of the year and did not coincidence with AWM season. So you can imagine the excitement when I chanced upon them again recently and quickly snapped up half a dozen first. A few were eaten the first moments after reaching home with them. A reprise of fond memories. But what better way to glorify their magnificence than to encapsulate all of its essence in one of the creations by the great Japanese patissier 杉野英実 Hidemi Sugino, Tartlette aux Mangue et Fruits de la Passion, which he aptly named Tahiti タヒチ.
When news of a new Ladurée publication “Sucré: The Recipes” broke out more than a year ago, it created quite a stir amongst the culinary scene. The pre-orders were selling like hotcakes leading to the title selling out before it was even published! Opportunistic resales on amazon and other online bookstores at astronomical prices but yet it didnt seem to deter hardcore pastisserie afficionadoes from snapping them up at 3-digit prices. Thankfully I didn’t yield to the temptations then or I’d probably be banging my head against the wall now. Resale pricing fluctuated over the next couple of months and that meant quite a bit of “price watching” over the major online bookstores, not unlike market share prices. When “the price was right”, I went in and made the kill. Finally got a copy for myself at a very satisfying 42 bucks including shipping. I last checked with a local Japanese bookstore in town and it was going at a whooping 71. I can only say that I’m a very happy man…
Which recipe should I try first? So many delectable recipes from macarons to petits gateaux, viennoiseries to entremets, there’s even a recipe for french waffles which’s so intriguing!!! Well, for me at least. But I settled for a individual tartelette recipe which calls for two fruits which are in season now, cherries and apricots. Ladurée’s Tartelettes Croustillantes Abricots ou Cerises it shall be.