august 29, 2014
When frozen yogurt shops began to proliferate in the latter part of the 20th century, their product tasted like, well, yogurt. Frozen. And that’s not a complaint or criticism. What often passes for frozen yogurt these days tastes a lot like soft serve ice cream. Even that’s not a complaint. Most people like soft ice cream, as evidenced by the long lines that snake around those mom and pop shops by the seashore, the ones that sell frozen custard.
But what I really miss about the frozen yogurt of the early days was the tangy tartness of yogurt, frozen into a creamy swirl and generally unadulterated with kiddie bits like sprinkles and smashed bits of candy bars. Call it frozen yogurt for grownups.
I’ve got just the thing for a sultry late summer day, or for whenever you crave frozen yogurt with mature pizzazz and the zing of Greek yogurt. The subtle yet exotic flavors of cardamom and rosewater may not meet with mom and pop’s approval, but your tastebuds will be delighted with a frozen treat that pairs well with berry or stone fruit desserts and needs no sprinkly bits to shine. Today’s dessert, made with local creamy Greek yogurt from Old Church Creamery (see summer berry yogurt trifle for another crowd pleasing and easy dessert made with their yogurt), was the accompaniment to local peach poundcake with honeyed peach syrup served by me this month at Little House Green Grocery’s Summer Sunday Supper.
Good quality Greek yogurt is naturally strained and does not rely on artificial thickeners; if you are lucky to find yogurt like this, be sure to whisk well as there may be some lovely lumps with a curd-like texture. Make certain your rosewater and ground cardamom are fresh, as both can lose potency with time and lend an off flavor to your dessert. An electric ice cream maker does all the work for you. In general, most ice creams thicken in 20-25 minutes, but frozen yogurt will churn into a thicker product; you may need to stop the machine at 15-18 minutes or it will feel like removing frozen concrete from your cylinder. If you like a soft serve texture, enjoy right away. Freezing at least six hours will give a scoop-worthy texture like ice cream.
As with my other frozen desserts, smoky tea ice cream and strawberry balsamic gelato, I make sure the sugar is heated with the dairy until no graininess remains. This way there is no sweet sugary sediment to cause problems with uneven texture or streaks in the mix.
I find the addition of heavy cream to the yogurt mixture gives a superior mouth feel, and that in the very frozen state, scoopability improves by allowing the frozen yogurt to sit in the fridge at least 30 minutes or at room temperature until lightly softened, that is, if you can wait that long for dessert.
cardamom rosewater frozen yogurt
makes about 5 cups
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 1/8 cup cane sugar
3 cups Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
3 tablespoons rosewater
- In heavy nonreactive one quart saucepan, combine heavy cream and sugar and stir gently with rubber spatula over low to medium low heat until sugar is mostly dissolved, about five minutes; avoid whisking so as not to whip the cream; mixture will appear grey but after processing with remaining ingredients, frozen dessert will be creamy white.
- In mixing bowl, whisk Greek yogurt with cardamom and rosewater until smooth and no lumps remain.
- Gently whisk hot cream mixture into yogurt mixture, and refrigerate covered at least six hours and preferably overnight.
- Pour chilled mixture into running electric ice cream machine and process until thickened to the soft serve stage, about 15-18 minutes.
- Serve immediately if you like a soft texture or freeze in plastic or metal container at least six hours until firm for scooping.