Mango float

Mango float

7000 Islands
Jana Liebenstein

The floats I grew up with in Australia were drinks of coke and lemonade topped with vanilla ice cream (also known as spiders). Filipino mango float is a different treat entirely, but with equal old-school American cool.

In the Philippines, this icebox dessert is layered in a bowl or baking tin and frozen to counter the intense tropical heat, which softens it almost instantly. This version is set in the refrigerator. For individual serves, use eight tall glasses.


Quantity Ingredient
240g condensed milk
1 gold-strength gelatine leaf
600ml thickened cream
400g digestive biscuits or graham crackers
3 mangoes, peeled, stones removed and cheeks sliced lengthwise


  1. Place the condensed milk in a small saucepan over low heat and bring just to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine in cold water for 3 minutes until soft, then squeeze to remove any excess water. Stir the gelatine into the condensed milk until dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until cool.
  2. Using an electric mixer, whisk the cream to soft peaks, then fold in the condensed milk mixture using a spatula until well combined.
  3. Place a layer of biscuits in the base of a 3 litre serving bowl (don’t worry if they don’t fit evenly; layer biscuits over the gaps). If you are making individual serves, crumble the biscuits into eight 400 ml glasses.
  4. Spoon over one-third of the cream mixture. Top with half of the mango slices. Spoon over half of the remaining cream mixture, top with more biscuits, then the remaining mango slices. Spoon over the remaining cream mixture.
  5. Using a food processor, process the remaining biscuits to fine crumbs. Scatter the crumbs over the cream to form a thickish layer (you may have crumbs left over). Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm slightly, then serve.

Where does it come from?

  • The origins of the name mango float (also mango royale) are not clear. However, icebox cakes are an American culinary legacy. These no-bake desserts made with graham crackers and cream are traditionally set in the refrigerator, which led to the name ‘icebox’. Despite its simplicity, mango float is often served at fiestas. Banana cream pie is another icebox favourite.
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