My birthday was about two weeks ago, and I wanted to be sure that I had something interesting and delicious to eat for breakfast on that special day.
What? You don’t eat ice cream for breakfast? You should really sort out your priorities.
While I agree that it’s probably not the best practice for everyday life, birthdays are special days where general eating rules should be able to go out the window. Plus, it’s frozen yogurt, so let’s just pretend that makes it more acceptable.
I had never made frozen yogurt before, but I knew that Jeni would be able to guide me through it with flying colors. Plus, I knew that I was going to have to draw on a reserve of patience that I normally do not have when it comes to frozen treats. Making frozen yogurt with a fruit sauce takes 2 solid afternoons worth of work, and you need to be fairly precise about what you’re doing.
At first, I was considering just going with the plain lemon frozen yogurt, but when I saw this suggestion, I knew that blueberries had to become involved. Both recipes are from the first book: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, and I have a feeling that I will not feel truly complete until I have made at least one batch of everything in it. Then, I’ll move on to the second book. Let’s hope there’s not a third because I might never find true ice-cream-related emotional fulfillment. (Just kidding. I would buy it immediately, if only for the opportunity to leaf through the pages and sigh wistfully.)
The first step in making frozen yogurt? Draining yogurt. The first time I ever heard of this concept was in a post years ago from everybody likes sandwiches about this amazing-sounding orange yogurt. I have always kept this concept in the back of my mind, but never got the opportunity to practice it until this day. I have a feeling that my local grocery store employees would have looked at me funny if I asked them where they kept their cheesecloth (It is still a major moment of confusion for them when I pull out my own shopping bags. One step at a time.), so I decided to go with the coffee filter option, which seemed to work beautifully.
That yogurt needs to drain for several hours, so overnight was the best option. Next? The blueberry sauce. I figured that making it during the day before was a good idea, although I wasn’t anticipating the delicious smell and the way that the idea of fresh blueberry sauce sitting in the refrigerator would taunt me the rest of the day.
Blueberries and sugar get tossed together and heated up over the stove until the whole house smells like you’re baking blueberry muffins.
Blueberry sauce might be the prettiest purple of all the purples.
The draining yogurt and cooling blueberry sauce sit in the refrigerator for a day, waiting for their ultimate destiny.
The next day, lemons take over your whole kitchen. You zest them into big long strips.
You juice them up.
You make lemon syrup.
And then you boil up that zest with your milk and cream and sugar and all of the other white things in your kitchen.
Speaking of white things…
How did that yogurt do? How much liquid can really be in there anyway?
I think I actually gasped. This moment was on a par with the time that I finally got to squeeze out shredded zucchini. So much unexpected greenish liquid. It was weird. But again, so worth it. Getting rid of that extra stuff helps to make the frozen yogurt base incredibly silky and smooth, with as little incidence of ice crystals as possible.
Check out my mise en place. I’m getting so much better at this.
After things are boiled up, the various whiskings begin.
You whisk in cornstarch slurry. You whisk in cream cheese.
You whisk in that lovely thick yogurt.
You whisk in your homemade lemon syrup.
Your arm gets tired.
You let things chill out. (You do some dishes now, because to wait until you’re finished has previously proven to be a bad idea.)
You strain out those pesky lemon zests.
You get this amazing silky concoction, that, if I were I lesser woman, I would have eaten straight from the bowl with a spoon like lemon curd without a care in the world. However, one of the few things that I am willing to sacrifice for is the prospect of having ice cream, so I kept that impulse in check.
You spin it up, and then do some more dishes. It’s a good idea to make ice cream so that you have an excuse to do some dishes, really. Let’s keep telling ourselves that.
Then, the assembly begins. I think that I’ll just let this go by like a stop-motion movie. You guys know what’s up.
Such pretty stuff, with all those alternating layers of the lightest yellow and deep purple.
Seal it up, and let it go. That’s right. More waiting. At least four hours, or if you’re like me, until your birthday.
And then again, if you’re like me, deny yourself the pleasure of digging right in on your birthday morning so that you can take pictures first because you are absolutely ridiculous.
But this beauty needed to be documented. The lemon frozen yogurt is super smooth, tart, and bright, much lighter than its traditional lemon ice cream counterpart. The blueberry swirl is sweet and fresh, with the tiniest bit of iciness and chewiness from those whole berries. The whole things just screams summer. And when your birthday is on the first day of summer, could there be anything better?
Now get inside from that crazy heat and stand over a hot stove and make yourself some frozen yogurt. It’s totally worth it. And your dirty dishes will thank you for it.