When dr bob makes cheesecake topping in Italy (does anyone else?), the absence of sour cream in the marketplace requires an imaginative substitution, which the dr bob team often accomplishes with fruit flavored yogurt and mascarpone or something similar that does not translate well into American food terminology. Here in the US, fruit flavored yogurt is an option, but one which had never been exercised until the new millennium.
Yogurt in Europe outclasses the American yogurt scene no hands down. Smooth and creamy, it just flows onto your tongue where your taste buds can appreciate their wider variety of interesting flavors. And none of this custard crap. Here there are too many companies producing the same short list of flavors to fill insufficient supermarket shelf space, and a buying public that doesn't seem to mind will continue to collude together to keep the situation looking bleak for the foreseeable future.
For a while bob was faithful to Stonybrook Farms for their concern not only for their customers by trying to deliver a nutritiously superior product but also for their efforts to raise consumer and ecological consciousness. But they discontinued his favorite breakfast yogurt flavor guava-papaya. Maybe it was the buying public's fault again. Caribbean fruit not mainstream enough perhaps.
But then Yoplait came along with strawberry-mango in their 1 percent smooth European consistency line of yogurts. Fearing it would not survive, bob converted exclusively to this flavor for months. In a way this was the (academic) year of the mango for bob. First encountering a knock your socks off almost liquid mango mousse at a short lived tapas joint in Bryn Mawr. And then just before losing our French speaking friends Pascale and Jamila to their European homelands, we did the annual Big Apple pre-Christmas season Saturday visit and chanced upon a mean mango lassi (yogurt drink) at a terrific Indian lunch buffet near Rockefeller Center. Rediscovered in our own backyard the night before Oscar Night 2000.
So mango was in the air when Paul was volunteered to be a dr bob cooking school student on Oscar afternoon. The usual Mother Wonderful basic recipe with a hand-blended fresh mango slices and rum puree for flavoring. Half recipe in an 8 in pan. (Whole cheesecakes seem so overpowering at 47). And the sweetened Yoplait strawberry-mango sour cream mixture on top. Only a few hours in the fridge and we popped it out for an Oscar evening treat. Good, but much better the next day.
Somehow we got conned into a subscription to Saveur magazine by a free 6 month offer and it is hard to cure these addictions once they start. Automatic billing to the credit card unless you actively stop it. Jan/Feb 2001 had a full page (48) promoting Rata brand Alphonso Mango Pulp with a recipe adapted from Julie Sahni's Classic Indian Vegetarian and Grain Cooking (William and Morrow, 1985). Claiming that homemade Indian yogurt is thinner and tangier than our US store products it suggests substituting American buttermilk. By coincidence later in the year Gourmet magazine (January, 2001) had an article on mango recipes and also pushed the Rata brand, which seemed like independent confirmation of the choice. A mango fool (pudding) recipe caught bob's eye there.
So it's simple: 1 1/4 c plain yogurt or buttermilk, 1 c sweetened alphonso mango pulp, 3 T sugar, 2 t fresh lime juice, 1 c water; puree in a blender until smooth and frothy and the sugar has dissolved, about 1 minute. Then pour into 4 tall ice-filled glasses. We'll have to try it once we locate the product.