I am a compulsive list-writer. I live and die by the “to-do” list. Although my home screen is cluttered with those little reminder notes, I prefer making my lists on stark white computer paper in ballpoint pen. I don’t like lined paper; my words can’t fit into those predetermined spaces, their importance limited, obscured by their confinement. I use journals sometimes so I have record of the previous day in planning the next, but I also revel in recycling the printer sheets and starting over — a sign that Day=conquered. I enjoy nothing more than marring the page with my crossouts., moving along like a diligent worker-bee, and adding and rearranging the tasks as the day rolls on.
Sometimes, things come to me in inconvenient places or in the middle of the night. That’s what the “notes” on my phone are for. I have lists of things pending for “real” lists, when paper and pen are within reach. Days off, holidays, vacations are filled with lists, too. At the beginning of every season, I think about what’s in season — produce and “tastes.” I page through my cookbooks. I conjure up ideas. And I write a list. It’s typically quite messy, but it chronicles the items (sweet, savory, and breakfast) that I’d like to hit during those months. I have a list of the restaurants I’d love to visit in that season with the dishes I’d like to try if the menus are set. I have a list of the books I want to read and another with the kitchen tools I’d like to buy, in order of priority/importance. And most recently, I wrote a list of the pros and cons of an apartment I’m undoubtedly going to regret not taking. My list of lists is absurdly long.
My rigid adherence, though, speaks to my lack of spontaneity. I like having a plan. Whether my day is filled with frivolity or important tasks, I want it itemized. I’m working on that quirk. I’m learning. I’m too young for this. But in writing these lists, I know that my day has meaning, that there literally is something “to-do.” It keeps me focused; it minimizes distractions.
This mango bread has been at the bottom of the to-do list for over a month. As a quick bread, it really is something that I can make whenever I hit that bullet point, even if it’s late at night. It’s mango season, and I never bake with mangoes, so I thought this would be a fun, no-frills place to start (even though I’m dreaming up a killer cheesecake with mango in my head). But in my experience, mangoes come in two varieties, which makes them difficult to factor into my daily list: The I’m-as-hard-as-a-rock-and-will-need-several-days-to-ripen mangoes or the I’m-ripe-eat-me-now mangoes. As a result, I’ve eaten the mangoes out of hand or included them in dinner and repeatedly added the bread to the bottom of the list.
Well, it was time. I hit the sweet spot. I made this lovely loaf. And I only have Dorie Greenspan to thank. No adjustments, no tweaks, no adaptations. It’s perfect. I love how this spring/early summer fruit mixes and mingles with sunny golden raisins and fragrant lime zest. More profoundly, I love how they’re all cloaked in a thick ginger and cinnamon-spiced brown sugar batter; although their flavors call to each other, it was initially perplexing to inhale those rich, winter aromas on Memorial Day Weekend. But this recipe hits the perfect balance between bright and warm. It’s sturdy but moist and the perfect accompaniment to my afternoon cup of tea. And now that it’s made, I can pursue the next thing on the list. I hope it’s just as delightful.
Fresh Mango Bread
from Baking from my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Before you add your mix-ins, this batter will seem thick — “dough”-like as Dorie notes. She’s so wise. The hydration here is just such that it accounts for the very juicy mango. It will look normal once the mango is added. Wise indeed!
The bread sings on its own with that brown sugar depth, spices, and sweet add-ins. If you need a schmear of something, though, I found that cream cheese goes very well!
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil (168 grams)
2 1/2 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (109 grams) packed light brown sugar
2 cups (330 grams) of diced mango (I needed 2 mangoes for this. Depending on the size, you may only need 1)
3/4 cup (109 grams) moist, plump golden raisins
Zest of 1/2 lime
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8 1/4 x 4 1/2 in. loaf pan. Place pan on an insulated baking sheet or two standard sheets.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and oil to combine.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. With your hands, break up the brown sugar to remove lumps and whisk it into the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix the thick batter until it comes together. Carefully but thoroughly stir in the mango, raisins, and lime. Transfer to the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
Bake for about 1 1/2 minutes or until the top is golden and a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean (loosely tent the bread if it gets too brown while baking). Transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack for 5 minutes then loosen the sides with a thin knife and invert back on the cooling rack. Cool to room temperature.