Saturday, May 30, 2015

Mango Lassi Cupcakes

Cooling off in New Delhi with a fresh mango lassi.
नमस्ते! If only I had postponed my “trip” to New Delhi, India, until July 2—that’s the date of the annual International Mango Festival in India’s capital (here’s a hint…mangoes are essential in today’s recipe)! Alas, I “arrived” a few nights ago, around 8 p.m., after an 8-hour flight from Italy. By that time, I was ready for a sweet treat.

My favorite Indian recipe to order in the States is the mango lassi, a creamy, tangy, yogurt-based smoothie that is the perfect accompaniment to a hearty meal. Different types of lassis are popular all around India—savory lassis with spices such as cumin, sweet mint lassis, bhang (basically, marijuana) lassis, and my favorite, mango lassis. These tasty mango concoctions can be infused with other aromatic ingredients, such as rosewater or cardamom, adding even more depth of flavor.

With the high temperatures of New Delhi summers (often 90 degrees Farenheit, sometimes even 110!), a tall, cool drink is just what people need after a long, hot day. Naturally, that’s exactly what I went for the second I “stepped foot” in India.

But don’t expect me to make a simple mango lassi and be done with it! One of my favorite concepts ever is fusion food, or a culinary combination of two cultures. I decided to take the refreshing, sweet flavors of a mango lassi and use them in a distinctly American creation—a cupcake. What could possibly be a better dessert than classic vanilla cupcakes stuffed with tart mango curd and smothered with creamy mango lassi icing? Nothing.

See you tomorrow for lunch in Thailand!


1 cup softened butter
1½ cups sugar
4 tsps vanilla extract
4 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1-1/3 cup milk

Mango curd:

3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsps cornstarch
1 cup puréed mango
¼ cup butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tbsp lemon zest
6 egg yolks, beaten

Mango lassi icing:

1 cup puréed mango
4 tbsps honey or agave nectar
1 cup chilled yogurt
6 cups powdered sugar
½ cup butter, softened

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Next, beat in the sifted dry ingredients and the milk until combined. Pour the batter into a lined muffin tin, and bake the cupcakes for 22-24 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool.

2. While the cupcakes are baking, combine the sugar, cornstarch, mango, butter, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a saucepan to make the mango curd. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture is thickened.

3. Temper the egg yolks by stirring half of the mango mixture into the yolks, then stirring the yolks back into the rest of the mango mixture. Bring this just to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, for two more minutes. Cover the curd with plastic wrap, and chill it until ready to use.

4. As the curd and the cupcakes are cooling, purée 2-3 chopped mangoes with the honey until smooth, then add the yogurt. Cream the butter in a different bowl, and add half of the mango lassi mixture. (Add some ice cubes to the other half, and enjoy a drink with your dessert!) Next, beat in the powdered sugar until the mixture is smooth, thick, and spreadable.

5. Make a hole in the center of each cupcake (I used an apple corer), and fill them with a dollop of chilled mango curd (I used a squeeze bottle). Top with a spoonful of mango lassi icing, and dive in! आनंद!

My most innovative cupcake yet!

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