Starting with Mangoes

It’s party season!  The round of gatherings has started.

Yesterday was the Weavers Guild party. Almost better than all the wonderful fiber creations that get made by this exciting bunch of folks, is all the delicious foods they make. A simple call for something to eat becomes a feast for the eyes as well as the tummy.

My offering was quite simple. Celery sticks with cream cheese topped with a fruit compote and a toothpick for easy handling.  That simple statement sort of belies all that went into it.

I had these mangoes, see…. they were marked down at Jungle Jim’s before Thanksgiving and through the packaging seemed okay. Outside the packaging they were hard as rocks. They didn’t seem to be ripening much and no amount of hope was going to make them juicy. So, they became the basis of what was supposed to be a fruit pate – a firm jellied little nibble to pick up and snack on.

Of course, I had too much for one batch. No juice to speak of, so I added orange juice to start it cooking. Two Granny Smith apples were languishing in the refrigerator, so they got chopped into the pot. Way more sugar in the recipe than I wanted, so that got cut (without thinking, as I belatedly realized, that the sugar was a prime ingredient in making the pectin set up later….). I didn’t have the liquid pectin called for in the recipe, but I did a have package of Sure-Jell and a box of Apricot Jello.

I don’t think I let the mixture cook long enough to thicken properly; the pectin and jello did a bit, but the ‘ fruit soup’ did not get firm.

Back on the stove to heat and thicken more. Some applesauce went in as I was searching for more pectin to add. This time it did get pretty thick, but still didn’t set up enough to be able to cut it and pick up a piece. It was also terribly sweet – way too sweet even for me!

Back on the stove, this time with a bag of cranberries to tone down the sweetness (while also changing the color). And it cooked…. and cooked…. and….

The mixture never did set up for the pate idea, but it became a very nice thick fruit compote. And a little dab of that went on top of the cream cheese that filled the cavity of each little bite-sized piece of celery stick that I took to the party.

The Basket Guild has their party this week. I have these bananas getting really ripe….

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