This recipe is based on an apricot bar but takes advantage of seasonal, local fresh mangoes. Use ripe but not overly ripe or juicy mangoes.
It’s important in making these or any bars with a butter-flour crust-topping to use chilled butter cut into the flour. But do not overwork the mixture — that activates the gluten and makes the crust rubbery and tough. Also, don’t press down when spreading the crust and topping. That creates a hard, rather than crunchy, crumbly crust.
Vegetable oil cooking spray
4 to 5 mangoes, peeled, seeded, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup minced dried mangoes (or apricots as alternative)
» Crust and crumble:
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose and half whole-wheat pastry flour)
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter, chilled and cut into thin slices
1-3/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup chopped walnuts (4 ounces)
1 egg, room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9-by-13-inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Line bottom and sides with parchment paper. Spray with vegetable oil spray and set aside.
In large, heavy-bottomed open pot, combine fresh mangoes, lemon juice, salt, sugar and water. Bring to boil; turn heat down to medium-low and cook until thickened and jammy, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Stir in dried mangoes. Set aside.
To make crust: In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Cut in chilled butter using two forks or a pastry cutter until mixture resembles small peas. Stir in oats and walnuts. Add egg and vanilla and stir until incorporated. Do not overmix.
Pour half the crust mixture into prepared baking dish and spread lightly, using the tips of your fingers to scatter clumps of dough. DO NOT PRESS DOWN.
Spread mango mixture on top of crust, leaving half-inch border around edges. Cover filling with remaining crust mixture, spreading with your fingertips. Again, do not press down.
Bake until light golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on rack 1 hour. Cut into bars and store in airtight container up to three days. Best the first day. Makes 15 to 18 servings.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving (based on 18 bars): 330 calories, 16 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 250 mg sodium, 45 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 20 g sugar, 4 g protein
Nutritional analysis by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S., a nutritionist in the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii-Manoa.