I know we’ve hit the dog days of Summer, those last few weeks of the season filled with fire and heat, a finale to end all finales–and it all coincides with Labor Day weekend, often considered the end of summer, even though summer does not officially end until September 22.
These days, the sun dawns warm, the day gets hot, then hotter. The vegetables in the garden limply bow their stems by the middle of the day, the curtains are drawn, and evening is a welcome, festive, and joyous time. In the Bay Area (and even in Berkeley and San Francisco where the fog is markedly absent), we’re going through a heat wave that is not letting us forget what time of year it is. We’ve had watermelon chilling in the fridge on a permanent basis, and for once, I wish we had an automatic ice cube maker.
I find the weather quite frightful, and so my eyes are turning towards all things icy. This means taking out my ice cream maker and putting the freeze on the heat. Or rather, leaving the bowl of my ice cream maker in the freezer on a permanent basis, ready at any time to be of service.
I was recently tasked by my editor at the magazine where I freelance to write an article on Pinkberry and frozen yogurt–and so these days, I’ve been curious about frozen yogurt. I grew up in Southern California, during the first wave of the frozen yogurt craze in the 1980s–going to Penguin’s and eating a yogurt piled high like soft serve, with toppings (m&m’s, heath bar crunch, nuts, etc., etc.) galore. The yogurt had a subtle tang, but seemed ashamed of its yogurt roots. Its intent was to taste like ice cream. And somehow, I found it “neither nor there.”
Oh, and how could I forget about Yogurt Park in Berkeley’s southside neighborhood, which I frequented so often as a college freshman? But that too, screamed “I want to be ice cream” more than anything.
Now it seems that frozen yogurt has taken on a pride of its own, embracing its tangy yogurt identity. It no longer feels compelled to taste like ice cream–and I like it much better this way, a rich and tangy and sweet dessert that stands all on its own.
And since there is no Pinkberry up here in the Bay Area, I thought I would make frozen yogurt at home, using David Lebovitz’s rich frozen yogurt recipe. (Again, his ice cream “cookbook” Perfect Scoop is The Bible of ice creams, sorbets, granitas, and frozen yogurts. I have yet to try a recipe of his that is a dud. Indeed, all the recipes are stellar).
It was so good that when I made it this morning before any of the household guests woke up…I ate some for breakfast, with some mango. I couldn’t resist. You can eat it plain, too, of course.
Oh, and for the record–that’s mango with the yogurt…a delicious, juicy, Kent mango (my favorite variety).
Recipe follows after the jump…
Vanilla Frozen Yogurt Recipe from David Lebovitz’s Perfect Scoop
- 3 cups (720g) strained yogurt (see below) or Greek-style yogurt (clz’s note: I like to use FAGE Greek Yogurt…I used 2% FAGE Greek Yogurt to cut down the fat, and it turned out very acceptable)
- 3/4 cup (150g) sugar (clz’s note: you can lower the sugar in the recipe by a quarter cup if you like, and if you prefer the tanginess of the yogurt to stand out.)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix together the yogurt, sugar, and vanilla. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
To make 1 cup (240g) of strained yogurt, line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheese cloth. then scrape 16 ounces or 2 cups (480g) of plain whole-milk yogurt into the cheesecloth. Gather the ends and fold them over the yogurt, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours. So, for the above recipe start with and strain 6 cups of yogurt.
Makes about 1 quart.
Or if frozen yogurt isn’t your speed, check out some of the other icy summertime recipes here on Muffin Top: