As I sat down to write this post, I remember one day at work when mango season had arrived and someone brought in a huge bag of mangos to share. This was the norm in North Queensland. Mangos just grew everywhere, you could often find trolly’s full of mangos the side of the road free to take. That day a work colleague announced that of all the fruits, mangos and bananas should be avoided because they were too high in sugar and calories. She was of course, constantly on a low carbohydrate diet attempting to lose weight. There is a huge fear of “sugar” in the health space and in particular the hormone space, and rightfully so as refined sugars can wreak havoc on our health and hormones, but not all sugars and created equal. I hear a lot of advice for hormone balance telling people to avoid fruit because its too high in sugar or at the very least to limit fruit intake to low sugar fruits like berries. This really makes me sad because fruit is one of the great pleasures of life (especially summer fruit). What makes me even sadder is that the concept of fruit being too high in sugar and therefore can lead to metabolic issues like weight gain, insulin resistance, PCOS and type 2 diabetes is simply not supported in the science. A recent meta-analysis published in 2018 indicated that fruit and vegetable consumption was inversely related to the development of the metabolic syndrome. (1) Similarly, another meta-analysis concluded that higher fruit consumption (especially berries) reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes. (2) As for Mangos, I even came across a study that used mango powder to treat insulin resistance in rats with success! (3) I know we are not rats, but it just goes to show that fruit not only does not cause metabolic problems that lead to weight gain but can actually help to reverse them.
For this particular recipe, I decided to try something a little different and use biscuits in the base. I usually use nuts in the base but have long wanted to try a biscuit base for a more traditional tart. I have simply not been able to find biscuits in which I was happy with the ingredients. And then it hit me that I could use the plain biscuits I give to my toddler to eat. They are wholemeal and only sweetened with grape juice. I use the Little Bellies brand from the supermarkets in the baby section. I was a bit excited to use them but actually decided that nut bases are much easier to make, so I am not sure I will be going back to using biscuits. The jelly layer of the mango uses agar powder, which is a bit tricky to use at first but after some practice, it works quite well as long as it’s activated properly (you must bring the mixture to a boil, just heating it is not enough). I am becoming more and more conscious of my use of coconut, particularly coconut oil in my recipes because it is a significant source of saturated fat. Even though it is not AS BAD as animal-based saturated fats at raising cholesterol, it still can do so and so should be avoided in people with high cholesterol. I personally am not too concerned as my lipid profiles are always great and also I have been so underweight my whole life that it really is not an issue for me, but I am becoming more conscious of it for my audience (plus I don’t actually enjoy the taste of coconut that much). In this particular recipe though you can’t go past a tropical mango coconut flavour so I would say that it is worth it! Admittedly this is not one of my easier desserts but it is such a show stopper and the most perfect summer dessert for a summer party or for a hot Australian Christmas. And of course, it tastes absolutely delicious.
|Vegan Mango Jelly Tart - Refined Sugar Free|| |
- 2 cups wholemeal baby biscuits (or biscuits of choice)
- ⅓ cup desiccated coconut
- 1½ tsp ground ginger
- 2 TBSP coconut oil
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
- 1½ cups cashews or slivered almonds (soaked for 15 mins in boiling water)
- 200g coconut cream from a can
- 3 TBSP maple syrup
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- Juice ½ lemon
- MANGO JELLY LAYER:
- 1 large mango
- 1 cup of water
- 1-2 TBSP maple syrup
- 1 TBSP agar powder
- For the base, process all the base ingredients into a food processor until sticky. Press down evenly onto the base and sides of a long tart tin and set aside.
- For the filling: Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour over base and place in the freezer for 2 hours until set.
- For the mango jelly, blend all mango jelly ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil, constantly whisking, once boiling, keep whisking for about 2 minutes until mixture starts to thicken slightly. Pour on top of the tart and set in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Decorate with raspberries of toppings of choice, slice and enjoy.