Those of you who aren't writers probably have no idea how much time and effort authors put into marketing. After all, spreading the word is the best way to sell books, so we're at it all the time.
Our guest today, Peggy Ehrhart, has been a friend of mine for quite a few years. So imagine my surprise when I received an email from Lynn in Texas, a regular reader at Mystery Lover's Kitchen, suggesting I ask Peggy to be a guest! I was all for it, of course! I think Peggy is very lucky to have such a dedicated fan in Lynn. I don't know anyone else whose fans are out there trying to get them publicity!
As luck would have it, today is Lynn's birthday, too. Happy Birthday, Lynn! Here's Peggy!
I’d like to thank Lynn in Texas for suggesting to Krista that I contribute a pie recipe to Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen and for suggesting berries as a key ingredient for a summer pie.
When I responded that summer makes me think of mangos because they grow in places where it’s always hot, she emailed back, “I fondly recall the days of our trips to the Virgin Islands in the early to mid-80's where mangos were in such abundance you could pick them up off the side of the road for FREE--otherwise the little fruit stands sold them for about 4 or 5 mangos for a DOLLAR! Big, ripe juicy things that were most delicious eaten while standing in the blue-green waters as the waves lapped at the edge of the beach.”
So I combined raspberries and mangos to create Mango Tango Pie.
My website features a pie recipe and photo for every month of the year, music themed because my Maxx Maxwell mystery series features a blues-singer sleuth. The pies have names like Blues Berry Pie, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Pie, and Strawberry Fields Pie.
This new pie had to have a music theme too, and what more logical than to allude to my two key ingredients by evoking that old song, “It Takes Two to Tango”?
Mango Tango is a delicious summer pie, very light and fresh-tasting. And if you use a prepared crust rather than making your own, you can produce a Mango Tango Pie without ever turning on the oven.
Mango Tango Pie
For the Crust:
1 ½ cups graham-cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
For the Filling:
1 packet unflavored gelatin
¼ cup very hot water
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar
4 oz. cream cheese, softened at room temperature for an hour or so
4 – 6 oz. raspberries
1 ripe mango
1 tbs. rum, or more if you want a distinct rum flavor
Make the crust first, so it can cool while you prepare the filling. Combine the crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Turn the mixture into a pie pan and, using your fingers, press it down firmly over the bottom and sides of the pie pan, shaping it against your thumb around the top rim to make a tidy edge. Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.
If you really don’t feel like making a crust, you can buy a prepared graham-cracker crust in the baking supplies aisle of your supermarket.
For the filling, first make sure your mango is really ripe. It should smell like a mango and yield slightly to the touch when you press it with your thumb. It might still be green in spots, but if it fits these two criteria, it is ready to use. Peel the mango and then slice it. To create nice slices, hold the peeled mango firmly on a cutting board, balanced on its large end. With a sharp, thin knife, slice along the wide side of the pit on each side. You will have two nice slices, like mango filets. You can then cut each in half lengthwise and cut those strips into ¼ inch slices. Using the same knife, trim as much of the remaining mango flesh as possible from the pit.
Wash the raspberries and set them and the mango slices aside.
In a small glass, dissolve the gelatin in the hot water, stirring until you can see that the liquid is clear with no undissolved gelatin bits left. Pour the gelatin mixture into a medium sized bowl. Add the heavy cream, a little at a time, stirring with a wire whisk. You don’t want to whip the cream—you just want to mix it well with the gelatin. Add the sugar and continue stirring vigorously with the whisk until the sugar is well blended. Do the same with the softened cream cheese. Add the rum and blend.
Carefully stir half the mango slices and half the berries into the filling mixture. Be careful not to bruise them.
Pour the filling mixture into the cooled graham-cracker crust and smooth it nicely. Arrange the remaining berries and mango slices on top.
Chill the pie for 6 hours or until the filling is firm.
Peggy Ehrhart is a former English professor who lives in Leonia, New Jersey, where she writes mysteries and plays blues guitar. She holds a doctorate in Medieval Literature, and her publications include a prize-winning nonfiction book. Her first mystery, Sweet Man Is Gone, featuring a blues-singer sleuth, was published by Five Star/Gale/Cengage in 2008 and is now available in various ebook formats. Got No Friend Anyhow appeared in February 2011. Visit her at www.PeggyEhrhart.com.