My mom is a great cook. My grandma’s an even better one. But neither is much of a baker so growing up, all the homemade cookies and treats we had were made by one of my “aunties”--Aunty L, Aunty C, and Aunty A. These three ladies are some of my mom’s oldest friends, and they are fabulous bakers.
According to my memory bank, Aunty A and Aunty C made the best cookies, especially crispy, buttery ones like Aunty A’s cornflake cookies. Aunty L made the BEST banana bread. But the most memorable dessert is this mango cheesecake that Aunty L would make for us from time to time. It had a buttery crust, a cream cheesy middle, and the top layer was a clear jello filled with fresh chunks of local Hawaii mangoes. It was one of my favorite desserts growing up. It’s nothing refined or fancy, but it’s fresh, not too sweet, and so local.
A couple of weeks ago, my mom finally mailed me the recipes from Aunty L. Score! I promptly bought some mangoes even though they aren’t exactly in season, nor were they on sale, but I couldn’t help it.
The recipe was even simpler than I thought. It’s a bit time consuming since there are three parts to it, but each layer isn’t too complicated. And I learned I have to be careful when pouring the mango jello mixture on top. I’m using a ladle the next time I make this. For this first attempt, I accidentally poured from the mixing bowl and it made the cream cheese layer splatter a bit, creating little white flecks through the jello. Not the prettiest look to have...
It tasted just like I remembered though. Aunty L’s were always cut a little nicer, and they of course didn’t have little white flecks of cream cheese in the jello part, but it still made me think of all the happy times growing up with my family back in Hawaii.
I’m definitely making this again when it’s mango season!