Mango Cooler with Prickly Pear
This was a great addition to my Mexican Christmas feast. If you love great exotic tastes with wonderful color, give this one a try. Prickly pears (tunas) can be found at many Latin grocery stores or produce stands. Be careful when handling them, as the almost microscopic stickers can be quite unpleasant (take it from me!). From Rick Bayless' "One Plate at A Time."
Agua de Mango con Tuna
8 medium (about 6 lbs) ripe mangos
1 cup sugar, a little extra if needed
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 large red-fleshed (not the green) prickly pears
Slices of lime for garnish
1. Peel the mangoes with a sharp paring knife. Pulling the flesh away from the pits might be a bit difficult. It's best to stand it on its end and cut slices around the core. In a blender, process the mango flesh into a puree. Push the mixture through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl or large measuring cup(should be about 4 cups).
2. Pour into a large punch bowl and stir in 2 quarts of water, the sugar and lime juice; stir until the sugar is dissolved. Taste and add sugar or additional lime juice as needed
3. Peel the prickly pears by slicing off both ends and then making a shallow incision down the length of each fruit. WEAR GLOVES IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE IN PAIN. Peel the thickish exterior, exposing the crimson red flesh of the pear. Puree the flesh by pulsing it in a blender. Be very careful not to let the blender run too long or fast, as it will chop the seeds into the mixture. Push through a medium strainer to yield apx 1/2 cup. Stir into the mango mixture and serve over ice; add lime slice to each glass for garnish.