Good cobblers get me weak in the knees y’all. I know, I know- I’m supposed to do a peach cobbler recipe first because I’m southern and all. But what I had on hand most recently was mango, and that’s just the way it’s gonna be. This tropical fruit cobbler with mango and coconut was such a hit with my boys, I had to come here and write it down. For my family’s sake, and for mine- here it is.
Fruit for Thought
All cobblers are created (more or less) equal. The iconic cobbler has a fluffy, biscuity dough base which rises to a browned crisp on top. And the all-important fruit filling, bubbly and ooey gooey throughout. Peach is probably the most well-known filler, but just about any fruit will do.
In fact, cobbler is a catch-all for an endless parade of fruits. Fresh fruit running out of time? Cobbler it. Frozen fruit taking up too much freezer space? Cobbler it. Leftover jarred fruit from the grandkids’ visit? Cobbler it. Sounds like a Portlandia sketch, but it works. Trust me.
Just take a minute to gauge the juiciness of your fruits. If the fruit’s already bathing in its own syrupy juices, then little else is needed to get them cobbler ready. Maybe just a quick thickening and flavor adjustment. On the other hand, if your fruit of choice is relatively dry, then you’ll want to apply some heat to get those juices flowing.
Juicy cobbler good. Dry cobbler bad.
At the same time, liquidy cobbler is also bad. Prevent fruit soup by thickening up the juice a little. Cornstarch is my universal thickening agent. I whisk a little with water in a ramekin and mix it into the gently boiling fruit juices. How long I let it cook down depends, but watching how the juices drip from the stir spoon will tell you all you need to know.
Sweetening the fruit a tad can help take some tartness out. Simply use less sweetener if the fruit is already syrupy. And truly, a pinch of salt makes all those fruity flavor compounds stand to attention, tropical or not.
Notes on a Tropical Fruit Cobbler
We often will get a supersized jar of pre-sliced mangoes from Costco. Man, does this place enable my worst (best?) recipe testing impulses.
For the jarred mango already in its juices, very little coaxing was needed for cobbler prep. For fresh or frozen mango slices, you’ll want to give a little more attention to the stovetop method described above.
Flavor Bible (can I get an amen?) pointed me to a coconut pairing, and I just happened to have some coconutty accompaniments in the cabinet. I’ve tried a few combinations using coconut flour, coconut sugar, coconut oil, coconut extract, coconut milk, and coconut chips.
That island flavor didn’t come through in some iterations, and I learned the hard way that coconut flour is not always a great 1:1 substitute for all-purpose. But what I did find was a pretty sublime tropical fruit cobble concoction that felt like endless summer on a beach. If…East Texas had one.
That version is below. It’s also highly rated by the night shift staff at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where many test recipes from my kitchen meet their abrupt end.
Side note- have you ever tried to slice a mango? Pain in the who-ha. If you have any tips I’m all ears- comment at me down below!
Need more coconut in your life? This Coquito cocktail is just the ticket (to the Carribean).
Tropical Fruit Cobbler with Mango and Coconut
Surprise your guests with this tropical fruit cobbler made with mango and coconut. A great alternative to tried and true peach!
For the batter
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup coconut milk
For the fruit filling
- 60 ounces jarred mango slices in their juice (about 1 1/2 quarts, 7 1/2 cups or 5-6 medium-sized fresh mangoes)
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (if you are using fresh mangoes)
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 9-inch by 13-inch ceramic baking pan by lightly spraying coconut cooking oil. Alternatively, you can use about 3 Tablespoons of melted butter.
If you are using fresh mangoes, remove the skin and pit and cut into slices or cubes.
In a large pot (at least 3 quarts), add the mango slices with their juice, salt, and sugar over medium-high heat. If you are using fresh mangoes, add lemon juice.
In a small ramekin, use a fork to mix cornstarch with 1/4 cup water. Pour into the pot with the mangoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low heat and allow to cook down until the juices thicken slightly, stirring occasionally, approximately 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the coconut extract.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the batter together. Stir in the coconut milk, taking care not to overmix.
In the prepared baking pan, pour the batter and spread until the bottom of the pan is covered. Place the mango slices on top of the batter and pour the remaining fruit juice on top.
Place the pan in the middle rack of the pre-heated oven, and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the crust is browned and the mango is tender and bubbly.
Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm with freshly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
I prefer to keep the mango slices whole for presentation purposes. The mango slices will become spoon tender after baking and are easy enough to cut with a spoon; however, you can cut the mango slices into smaller pieces prior to baking if you like.
If using an 8-inch x 12-inch pan for this recipe, ensure it is at least 3-inch deep to prevent overflow.
Substitute granulated sugar for coconut sugar for a little extra coconutty flavor and a beautiful dark brown cobbler.
Some coconut milk is better than others. I like to use the Sprouts brand.