Mammee, also known as mamey, mammee apple, and South American apricot, is a tropical tree that produces edible fruit. Its species is Mammea americana and it belongs in the family Guttiferae, which makes it a relative of mangosteen. Mamey is often confused with Sapote (Pouteria sapota), another tropical plant that bears fruit. This is largely because the Sapote is mistakenly called “mamey” in Cuba. Mamey trees are native to tropical regions in South America and they have spread to the Bahamas, Central America, and Florida. European explorers took Mamey seeds back to Europe, where most attempts at growing the trees failed. The seeds were finally coaxed to grow in a small region in West Africa and in some areas of Southeast Asia. Christopher Columbus, after his first visit to Veragua in 1502, is said to have described the Mamey as a fruit the size of a large lemon, with the flavor of the peach. Gonzalo Hernandez de Oviedo, about twenty years later, described it more fully and reported it as most excellent.
The Mamey tree can grow to be 60 to 70 feet tall and has large oval leaves that are glossy-green. The tree produces fragrant white flowers in the spring on small stalks. Pollinated flowers develop into Mammee fruit that ripens from May to August, depending on the region. In some areas Mammee trees yield two crops a year, first in June and later in December. Mature trees can produce 150 to 200 fruits per crop. Fruits are ripe when their skin is slightly soft and yellow. They should be picked before they are allowed to fall off the tree, as the fall will bruise and spoil the fruit. Mammee fruit is round, about 4 to 8 inches in diameter, and has a leathery light brown skin. Directly under the skin is a thin white membrane that surrounds the flesh.
Both the skin and membrane are bitter and not generally eaten. The inner flesh is light yellow to orange and its texture varies from dry and crisp to tender and juicy. At the center of the fruits are one to four hard brown seeds several inches long. The seeds are not eaten. Fruits are also used in ice creams, drinks, preserves and other dessert concoctions. Nutritionally it contains calcium, iron, beta carotene, B vitamins, vitamin C, tryptophan, methionine and lysine. Regarding caloric content, one cup of Mamey contains approximately 135 calories. In the Dominican Republic, the uncooked flesh, blended with sugar, is made into frozen sherbet. The juice or sirup of stewed flesh, is seasoned with sugar and lemon juice to make “ade”. When cooking the flesh for any purpose, one is advised to skim off any foam that forms on the surface of the water, as this is usually bitter.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
500g cream cheese cheese
600ml thickened cream
1/3 cup (50g) icing sugar
2 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
1/2 cup (125ml) Grand Marnier or Cointreau
Juice of 2 oranges
one 8″ sponge cake cut in strips
One large mammee apple strips
Place the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small pan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the mammee apple slices and stir. Cook for 2 mins. Remove from heat and let cool. Line the 4 rounded teacups with plastic wrap. Place the cream cheese, thickened cream, icing sugar, egg yolks and vanilla seeds in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed until thick and well combined.
Combine the Cointreau or Grand Marnier and orange juice in a separate bowl. Drizzle half the sponge cake slices with the juice mixture and layer in the base and sides of teacups with the soaked cake strips. Spread with one-third of the cream cheese, and a layer of mamme apple slices. Repeat the process, then top with the remaining cream cheese mixture, reserving the remaining mango slices to serve. Cover the cakes and chill for 2 hours or until firm. To serve, carefully invert the cup onto a small serving plate and remove plastic wrap. Decorate with slices of the reserved Mammee apple and serve with hibiscus or sauce of your choice.
For the dough
250 g wheat flour
80 g sugar
125 g of butter to climate
Place the flour in a bowl with the egg and sugar. Knead. Form a ball and bring it to the fridge for an hour. Butter and flour a pie pan, stretch the dough with a rolling pin. Line the pan with the dough. Fill with fresh cold Mamey and bake for 40 minutes. Cool and put powdered sugar.
For the filling
500 g of Mamey, peeled and cubed
250 g sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 dl water
Peel the Mamey, removing the bitter white cloth covering the pulp. Remove the pulp and cut into cubes. Bring to a simmer with sugar, water and cinnamon. Cook, stirring until soft. Refrigerate.