In The Beginning:
My very kind in-laws offered to buy us an ice cream maker recently. After much research and discussion, we finally went with the Cuisinart automatic version. We briefly considered the professional sort that has a compressor and can be used to make several batches back-to-back, but I decided that was a bit of overkill (and possibly just a leetle too tempting)… as well as too expensive and too big a footprint in the kitchen. We DID go with the larger 2-quart model, and so far I’m very glad we did… I’ve made five batches so far, and none have survived more than 24 hours.
Coincidentally, I’d checked out Momofuku Milk Bar, a dessert book, from the library the same week, and it had some ice cream ideas mixed in with the other luscious treats. And I also got a copy of David Lebovitz’ The Perfect Scoop to go with the maker… I’ve been following his blog for a while, and his gluten-free brownie recipe has significantly upped my baker cred among my Chicago friends. I spent several impatient days during a scorching Chicago heat wave paging through the Milk Bar book and dreaming of frozen goodies.
It finally arrived, and my joy was tempered by the fact that the bucket needed to spend enough time in the freezer to solidify the liquid within… I probably opened the freezer once an hour to check. Late that night, it seemed to me to be free of any slosh, and I decided to go for my first batch.
I didn’t want to muck around with eggs and custard that late at night, and, after paging through the Perfect Scoop, settled on a simple batch of vanilla frozen yogurt to break in our new toy. I’ve been making our own yogurt lately, but a half gallon of milk only makes about a quart of yogurt, and I’d been eating it regularly… I didn’t have enough homemade left to freeze up. However, I did happen to have a full container of Mountain High plain yogurt, the full-fat version that I used to create my own culture… we’d had guests for breakfast the day before, and I grabbed it thinking we could put it on our fruit salad. We wound up not even cracking it open, so I had a whole quart to play with.
Turns out frozen yogurt is dead easy and delicious… and a great start to my foray into icy delights!
Basic Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
(adapted from a recipe in The Perfect Scoop)
One quart plain yogurt, full fat
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla (I used our homemade stuff… just split vanilla beans soaked in vodka)
Stir together until sugar is dissolved. Chill for an hour. Freeze according to your machine’s directions (or, if you have no machine, just pour into a wide flat dish and pop into the freezer… whip it up with a fork every half hour until it gets to the consistency you like, and you’re good to go!). Devour!
Of course, my freezer bucket wasn’t quite as frozen as I’d hoped, and the yogurt was a bit goopy after 45 minutes in the machine. It was still delicious, and we put the remains left into the freezer overnight. Surprisingly, the next day, the yogurt had firmed up but not frozen into a solid block… it was still quite scoopable. I can definitely see this one happening over and over with fruit and goodies stirred in!
The last few days have been great fun, so I thought I’d try to keep a journal of flavors for a while… at least as long as I’m doing a batch each day. I didn’t get a photo of the first few batches, but I’ll try to better document the subsequent attempts. So grab a spoon and please join me on our delicious journey!