When I was around 10 years old, TCBY stores starting popping up in my home town of Rochester, NY. As per usual with things in Rochester, we were in the tail end of what was rapidly becoming the nations first frozen yogurt craze. Entranced by the idea of a low-calorie, low-fat ice cream substitute, people were inhaling large substances of the stuff, without bothering to notice that it really didn’t taste that good. People were imagining a new low-calorie ice cream, but didn’t seem to realize that the frozen yogurt was much more – it had a tangy, creamy goodness all its own. Fast forward to today. With the advent of Pinkberry and imitators, it appears we have begun to grasp the fact that frozen yogurt should not taste like ice cream, but should actually taste like, well, frozen yogurt.
David Lebovitz’s frozen yogurt recipe is just about the easiest thing around. It takes a while mostly due to the fact that it requires you to dump a container full of yogurt into a strainer lined with cheese cloth for 6 hours or so, but once that 6 hours is up what remains is something so easy it’s barely a recipe. I mistakenly bought vanilla-flavored whole milk yogurt instead of the called-for plain. Not a disaster – since the yogurt was already slightly sweetened – I just tasted the yogurt after every few tablespoons of sugar, and when it reached my desired sweetness I stopped. I also added in extra vanilla, since I love vanilla, but it just as easily could have been left out. Then this thick concoction went into the ice cream maker – twenty minutes later the yogurt was soft serve consistency. It was scraped into a container to firm up.
The tanginess of the frozen yogurt called for some sort of fruity topping. I had been re-reading ‘Garlic and Sapphires’ by Ruth Reichl and her recipe for roasted rhubarb sounded perfect. It was also incredibly easy – just chop up the rhubarb, toss with sugar, roast. What comes out of the oven looks like a red slimy mess, but it tastes delicious. An ideal combination of sweet and sour.
The roasted rhubarb and frozen yogurt were perfect partners – sweet, sour and satisfying.
David Lebovitz’s Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
3 cups (720g) strained yogurt or Greek-style yogurt
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
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.
Note – To make 1 cup of strained yogurt, line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheese cloth. then scrape 16 ounces or 2 cups 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.
Ruth Reichl’s Roasted Rhubarb
2 pounds rhubarb, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup of sugar
Mix the rhubarbs and sugar together. place mixture in an over proof dish and roast in an hot oven for 30 minutes. (Ruth Reichl says the oven can be anywhere from 325 to 425 – I went with 350.) Serve hot, warm, or room temperature.