Lime Cardamom Frozen Yogurt with a Passion Fruit Swirl, Passion Ad Lib

First, the good news: this is the best damned frozen yogurt I have ever had.   DisclaimerI usually prefer ice cream.  With its full-fat preserved. I like it hard-packed and thick. I am not someone that swoonover frozen yogurt.   And I am certainly not someone who refers to it as froyo.  I don’t tend to curse about it, either. These are the strictly the facts.

Now for the bad news: it’s made with heavy cream.  And some whole milk.  It takes a few days of advanced planning.  And it involves securing passion fruit.  And possibly rigging a strainer out of cheesecloth and rubber bands.  No one ever said making your own frozen yogurt was easy.   

But it is a very nice way to usher in an upcoming year of blogging.  A Plum turned two this week.  I didn’t bake a cake.  But I did make frozen yogurt and I’d like to think that counts for something.

When I started this blog, I did not envision I’d climb personal culinary Everests.  I am a dietitian. I am a gastronomy graduate student.  I am a lover of roast chicken and homemade jam.  I am not a professional chef.  

Nevertheless, my love for food has grown to fairly unreasonable proportions.  And this space has become a way to share recipes that excite me.  It’s also pushed me to places I never thought I’d go.  

I never thought I’d get up the guts to light up a grill.  Me.  Alone. With an open flame.  Well, I can now say that anything is possible with enough rum.

I never thought I’d ever utter, “I can’t.” “I have to proof my brioche.”  But if you need to circumvent a sticky situation, it really helps to have a solid brioche recipe in your back pocket.  Buttery brioche waits for no man.

I never thought I'd see cocktails transform from liquid to solid.  See: Pimm's cup cubes. Alternative: sparkling wine gelatin.  These posts haven't technically caused a media frenzy, but I am determined to make booze gelatin an annual event.  Who’s with me?

I never thought I’d receive the e-mails, kind comments, and even the occasional gratis meal, that I have.  Nor did I expect to meet such wonderful people.  But I thank you for coming along with me. From the very bottom of my stomach.

And I certainly never thought I’d make lime frozen yogurt with a stripe of passion fruit running through it.  In fact, I had never worked with passion fruit prior to this yogurt.  I had never seen its deep purple skin and round shell up close. When I opened up my first fruit, its guts promptly spilled out.  It was like cracking an egg. Except with an egg you aren’t expecting little pear-shaped seeds with a heady floral scent to fall out of thegg and onto your thigh. 

But these lessons allow for a life filled with laughter, cursing, and the occasional trip to the dry cleaners.  They also make for a better cook. And—in the end—better frozen yogurt.

Especially if we are talking about a tart, dense frozen yogurt with flecks of cardamom and vanilla bean.  The ribbon of passion fruit running through it is charmingly electric yellow with crunchy onyx black seeds suspended in it. This is wholeheartedly a full-fat frozen yogurt that I can get behind.

So this has become my world.  Sometimes it’s dark.  But mostly, it’s really fun.  Quite often there’s cake.  And on special occasions, there is homemade frozen yogurt.  With a swirl of passion fruit.

Lime Cardamom Frozen Yogurt with a Passion Fruit Swirl
Inspired by Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home


Frozen yogurt

1 quart plain low-fat yogurt
4 limes, the zest and the juice
2/3 cup plus 3 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt
1½ cups whole milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup heavy cream
6 tbsp light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean pod
6 cardamom pods, crushed and ground (shelled removed) (you can also use ground, it's less than 1 tsp)

Passion fruit syrup

5 passion fruits
~¼ cup sugar
Juice of ½ a lime (1-2 tbsp)
Splash of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

The day or two before you intend to make this frozen yogurt, place a sieve over a bowl and line it with 2 layers of cheese cloth. (My sieve is too small for this, so I covered a colander with cheesecloth, secured the cloth to the colander handles with rubber bands, and placed the colander in a medium-sized bowl.) Place the yogurt on the cheesecloth to allow the liquid to drain off into your bowl.  Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (6-8 hours).  Discard the liquid and measure out 1¼ cups of the strained yogurt; reserve until needed.  (You’ll have a little extra.)

To make the frozen yogurt, remove the zest (peels) of the limes in thick strips with a peeler or sharp knife, being careful not to get the pith; set the zests aside.  Juice the limes (you’ll need a ½ cup of fresh juice).  Combine the lime juice with 3 tbsp of sugar and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, to make a syrup.  Remove the lime syrup from the heat once the sugar is dissolved; set aside.

Mix 2 tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside.  Whisk the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth; set aside.

Cook the remaining milk, cream, 2/3 cup sugar, corn syrup, reserved lime zest strips, and vanilla bean (split, with the seeds scraped out; add both the seeds and pod) in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat; then, boil for 4 minutes.  Remove the mixture from the heat and gradually whisk in your cornstarch slurry.  Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until slightly thickened (only a few minutes).  Remove the vanilla bean pod.  Gradually whisk a little of the hot mixture into the cream cheese until smooth and then combine with the thickened milk mixture.  Add in the strained yogurt, lime syrup, and ground cardamom.

Place a metal bowl inside a larger bowl filled with ice.  Pour the frozen yogurt mixture into the metal bowl and allow to come to room temperature before placing it into the fridge until fully chilled (covered). (I usually leave it overnight.)

Meanwhile, carefully slice the passion fruit and open them over a saucepan, allowing the pulp to spill into the pan (it will be a few tablespoons worth). Repeat with all passion fruit.  Add the sugar, lime juice, vanilla extract, and salt.  (Taste and adjust the sugar, if needed.) Heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.  You should end up with about ½ cup of a slightly thickened liquid. (Which will thicken to a marmalade-like consistency as it cools.) Chill in the fridge.

Prior to churning the frozen yogurt base, strain the mixture to remove the lime zest and any bits of cream cheese that weren't fully incorporated.  Pour into a frozen ice cream canister and spin until thick and creamy (the base will start to pull away from the sides of the canister; this should take about 25 minutes).  Pack about ¾ cup of the frozen yogurt in a storage container, then spoon a layer of the passion fruit syrup, swirling it over the yogurt.  Repeat with another approximate ¾ cup of yogurt and then more passion fruit syrup. Continue this procedure until all the syrup is used up; ideally, you’ll want to end with a layer of frozen yogurt. Press parchment paper, cut to fit the shape of your lid, directly on the surface of the frozen yogurt and seal with a lid.  Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.

Yields about a quart

-This needs mentioning first and foremost: I was very lucky to be invited to Barrio, a Boston pop-up concept by Chef Wheeler Del Torro on Thursday evening.  While the location for such events is hush-hush, the free-flowing champagne and chocolate and shiitake pots de crรจme should not be.  It was a wonderful evening.  Rachel, of Fork it Over, Boston does a great write-up of an earlier event here, as well.

-I used the round, deep purple passion fruit that I happened to find in Whole Foods (not the yellow kind).  I’d never seen passion fruit in there before, but—then again—I’d never looked for it either.

-I used Seven Stars Farm plain low-fat yogurt. Jeni warns against using Greek yogurt; apparently, there are texture issues.

-I haven’t technically done a brioche post, but I’ve had great success with this recipe by Joanne Chang, as described by Brian of A Thought For Food.


Gone Eatin’, Spiced Kiwi Cake

I intended to come here and talk about baked falafel.  I really did. But then I made this cake (for the fourth time).  Falafel. Cake. Falafel. Cake. Cake will win out on most days.  And today is no exception.  It’s a great falafel recipe and technically you do employ your oven, but let’s get things straight: it’s not cake. 

So the cake takes it. Not that I think the falafel minds much.  He’s sort of a hippie.  I imagine he’ll lean back, have another toke of whatever he’s smoking, and put his feet up.  That’s just how ground chickpeas roll. And I suggest you do the same.  Right after you put your cake pan in the oven.

As for this kiwi cake, a colleague I met through a work wellness program kindly passed along the recipe.  Though, I can no longer refer to her as a colleague. She is now my new friend with cake.  I knew we’d get along when she e-mailed me a picture of the shepherd’s pie-stuffed baked potato she made for dinner the night before.  This sort of thing makes me instantly take to a person. 

And when she flashed a photo of the cake she baked, I knew I needed the recipe.  As a disclaimer—per my modus operandi—I couldn’t keep from tinkering with it.  So this kiwi cake has found a few friends of its own along the way, including the company of ginger, coconut, coriander, and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum.  I guess you could say it’s taken a trip to the Islands, mon.  Though getting there took a bit of work. 

I tried folding in pieces of kiwi.  I tried reducing the fat.  I used only white flour.  I baked it in loaf pans, petite Bundt cake tins, and glass pie plates.  In the end, I like it best as a large round cake and as a loaf.  The round cake is prettier.  But I’m a sucker for thick, square slices.  So I found a way to have my cake … and cake.

I’ve also found that my favorite part of this cake is the kiwi slices that sit just at its surface.  When baked, they taste a bit like thin, citrusy apples with crunchy little seeds.  It’s a note you get just at the top, leaving the body of the cake to reveal a tropic undercurrent.  A one-two punch. 

And it paired perfectly with my first charcoal grilled dinner of the year.  I made this yogurt-marinated chicken.  I drank a version of this dark and stormy.  And had slices of spiced kiwi cake for dessert.  It was quite a meal.  A meal that leads me to believe it's going to be a mighty fine grilling season. A breezy season.  With a strong undertow of ginger and rum.   

So I’m hanging a sign up on my door.  Gone grillin’.  And eatin’ kiwi cake.  With rum. Everything else will have to wait. 

Spiced Kiwi Cake


Butter for greasing
2 kiwis
1 cup whole milk 
1 cup of all purpose flour
1¼ cup whole wheat flour (see note)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup olive oil
1 cup sugar 
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp dark rum


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 8 or 9-inch glass pie plate and a loaf pan.  Slice the ends of each kiwi and squeeze the juice from the ends into a liquid measuring cup with the milk; set aside. 

Slice the skin off each kiwi by standing it up lengthwise and running a sharp knife down the sides of the kiwi; then, slice the kiwi into very thin rounds (about 1/8 inch thick) and then set the slices aside.  Sift together the flours, baking power and soda, and spices into a medium bowl; add in the salt.  Beat the oil and sugar together in a stand mixer until it lightens a bit (about 3-5 minutes).  Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture on medium speed.

Turn the mixer to low and add in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then ½ the milk, then another 1/3 of the flour, then the rest of the milk, and finally the rest of flour.  Mix a few more times until the flour is fully incorporated.  Fold in the ginger, coconut, extracts, and rum.  Pour the mixture into your greased pie pan until it is about ½ to 2/3 full.  Pour the rest of the batter into your greased loaf pan (you should have enough for a slightly smaller loaf).  Arrange your kiwi slices gently on top. Bake both for 40-50 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. (You may want to start checking a little bit earlier, depending on the size of your baking receptacles.)

Yields one cake and one short loaf

-I used the buttermilk that is leftover after I make butter for this recipe.  It's a different sort than cultured buttermilk, so I've substituted whole milk in the ingredients.  

-I’ve found it is easy to overbake this cake, so be sure to watch it.  Take it out of the oven as soon as a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

-I’ve used 1¼ cups whole wheat flour and I’ve also used a combination of whole wheat pastry flour and white whole wheat flour.  I think I like plain old whole wheat best.

-I’ve had the kiwi slices sink in filled loaf pans, but never in round-shaped pans.  Filling the loaf pan only halfway with batter seemed to help prevent the kiwi from sinking, though I can’t be sure exactly why.  I suppose I could investigate.  Or I could just eat some more cake. (Be sure to slice the kiwis very thin though, otherwise they’ll sink: this much I do know.)


I've Got 99 Problems But a Pita Ain't One

Sometimes just getting through the day can be enough to deserve a medal.  And I will take mine in the form of carbs, thank you. 

Recently, such rewards have come under the guise of fresh pitas. The first time I made them they came out gorgeous.  They came.  They puffed.  They conquered. 

They carried me through a week notable only for its fantastic lunches.  Pita with homemade hummus and shaved lemony Brussels sprout salad.  Pita with marmalade and sunflower seed butter.  Pita with roasted cauliflower and raisin caper sauce. (A sauce so good it really deserves its own post.)  You get the idea.  I was riding on a puff of pita. 

But then I stumbled into a chaotic week.  Instead of tending to the paper I was supposed to be writing, I turned to pita. I can admit this now: I was procrastinating.  Pitacrastinating.

I was also multitasking.  I was punching down dough.  I was responding to neglected e-mails. I was rolling pita into little balls. I was noticing that corners of my apartment had cobwebs with their own cobwebs.  I was putting pita rounds into the oven. I was not paying attention.

I was opening the oven door too often.  I was leaving the pita in too long.  They were crisping.  They were not puffing. I was stress-eating half risen pita.  I was trying to destroy the evidence. My pitas were deflating.  I was deflating.

And none of this was about bread.  This was about my ability to bring it.  These pitas are not all that difficult to make.  They just require your attention.  They are probably not the thing to make on a busy weeknight when you are in graduate school and have a full time job. Or have not talked to your father since his birthday last month.  Or have laundry piling up and fury dust boards.  You get the idea.

I wish I could say these bitches didn’t faze me.   I wish I could say I was sort of hoping for a thick, cracker-like lavash.  I may have a few issues—including a weakness for homemade breads—but being a liar is not one of them. 

I will, however, admit to being a bit fanatical.  And stubborn.  (And a closeted lover of certain rap artists.) So I went for an encore and made them again over the weekend. I put on a little Jay-Z for background inspiration.  The Black Album. And I concentrated. This time the pitas were soft.  They puffed.  They had the ability to be sliced and stuffed. They were not going to get me down again.  Not then.  Not ever.

So I can now tell you in hindsight, this is not the recipe to make if you are feeling like you have a lot to contend with.  It’s a wonderful recipe.  It even uses some whole grain flour.  But tuck it away for a leisurely day.  Don’t go for the even 100. Trust me.  Yes, I may have 99 problems, but homemade pita ain’t one.

Multigrain Pitas 


2¼ tsp dry active yeast
¼ cup warm water plus ~¾-1 cup additional warm water (about 100-110 degrees for both)
1 tbsp sugar, divided
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1½ tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp olive oil


Combine the yeast with ¼ cup warm water and 1 tsp sugar in a small bowl and let it sit “to bloom” (about 10 minutes).  Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tsp sugar with the flours and salt in a medium bowl.  After 10 minutes, add the yeast into the flour mixture, along with ¾ cup of warm water and the oil.  Knead by hand (with floured hands) on a floured countertop for about 10 minutes, adding additional water or flour, as needed. The dough should not be too sticky to work with, if it is add additional flour during your kneading.  If it seems dry, add a little more liquid.

After kneading the dough, place it in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 90 minutes.  After the dough has roughly doubled in size, punch it down and divide the dough into 8 pieces.  Roll each piece into a round ball and cover the balls with a damp kitchen towel for 20 minutes (to let the dough rest).  While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 475 degrees and place a cookie sheet upside down on the middle rack of your oven. (Alternatively, you could use a pizza stone if you have one.)

After the dough has rested for 20 minutes, on a floured surface (using a rolling pin) roll out each ball into a flat circle between 1/8 and ¼ inch in thickness and about 5-6 inches in diameter.  Spray the cookie sheet with a mist of water or carefully wipe the cookie sheet with a damp paper towel and close the oven for 30 seconds (this is supposed to help prevent the pita from blistering). Place as many pita rounds as you can (likely 2-3) on the hot sheet pan (or pizza stone) in your oven and quickly close the oven door.  Let the pita cook for 3 minutes, until just puffed. (They should start to turn golden brown on their bottoms, but just barely.)  Repeat with the remaining rounds, working quickly to prevent too much heat from escaping from the oven when you open the door.  Eat warm or let cool on a wire rack.

Makes 8 pitas


-I feel like I should mention Jay-Z here, as well.  Love him or hate him (I love him), the man has worked it.  And he snuck in as the inspiration for this post, especially his ability to juggle 99 problems.  

-I found this fantastic recipe from The Fresh Loaf.  You can find pictures of the process here

-If your pitas do not rise it likely means the oven wasn’t hot enough or the pitas weren’t thin enough (get out a ruler if you need to, it helps).

-I’ve also used 1 cup of your standard whole wheat flour, instead of the white whole wheat, but I wouldn’t substitute much more than that because it might make the dough to heavy to puff. You can find white whole wheat flour from King Arthur.

-So go forth, make pita.  It’s worth it.  And like most things I bake, they freeze; I like leaving them whole, but they also freeze well after being cut in half.  I’ve found the microwave has worked best to bring them back to life.  Reheating in the oven crisps them too much and they have a tendency to dry out if you let them defrost on the countertop. (You’ll want to freeze them if the pitas will be hanging around longer than 2 day because they’ll start to get a little stale.) 


Can I Make You Love this No-Knead Antipasto Pizza (With Anchovies)?

Dear people that do not like anchovies,

I get it. They smell funny.  They’re untrustingly tiny.  They have gray bodies with hairy little bones.  Sometimes they show up in slick, silvery white coats.  You’d think this costume change would ease things, but it doesn’t, does it? No, it leaves you more suspicious than ever.  Swimming in distrust. 

Anchovies do have a reputation for being shifty.  For sneaking into things.  They’re in your Caesar dressing.  They’re in that Bloody Mary you had a brunch yesterday. And you know Aunt Betty’s famous onion dip you love? Yup. She uses Worcestershire sauce.  So they’re in there too. You feel used now, don’t you?  At least a little bit?

And still, I probably can’t change your mind.  I can’t make you love anchovies.  And this makes me feel a bit like Bonnie Raitt begging to her disengaged lover.  Singing her one last, sad plea. “I can’t make you love me,” she laments.  I feel precisely the same.  I’m powerless here.

Now, in retrospect this probably isn’t the woman to spark your interest in anchovies. (Nothing personal, Bonnie.)  Her reputation isn’t all that great.  She has already confessed she can’t make [you] love her.  So she sure as heck can’t make you love anchovies.  And I get that.  But it’s too late. 

I’ll have to rely on this pizza instead.  It’s the best persuasive device I’ve got.  It keeps all of your taste buds fairly occupied. It has tangy red onions; olive oil and thyme-roasted cauliflower; salty cured olives; and Italian parsley and garlic that imparts just the right amount of bite.  Just enough to distract your senses. It’s like garlic bread crossed with a pizza and an antipasto platter.

Not to mention that the pizza crust is very laid back to make.  It’s a take on Jim Lahey’s no-knead pizza crust.  I’ve been making his no-knead bread for a few years.  And he has recently come out with My Pizza, which features pies like the ones he serves up at his restaurant, Co..  A version of his dough recipe can be found here.  

But I just took his bread recipe, one lazy day, and let it sit for a little longer on the counter top. That’s it.  A ridiculously simple crust with some stuff on it. That’s all I got. All of my pizza toppings are on the table. Because I can’t make you love anchovies, if you don’t.

So consider my shout out to this pensive nineties ballad, and said pizza description thereafter, a formal appeal for you to reconsider your previous relationship with anchovies.  Because this really is a wonderful pizza. Just try it.  Just give me until then to give up this fight.  And I will give up this fight.


P.s. or just leave them off.

No-Knead Antipasto Pizza (With Anchovies)


Pizza dough 
Adapted from My Bread By Jim Lahey

3 cups bread flour
½ tsp active dry yeast
1½ tsp salt
~1½ cups cold water

Pizza topping

1 red onion, very thinly sliced
~¼ cup white vinegar
Kosher salt
~2 tbsp butter
~3 tbsp Italian parsley, very finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
~1 cup cauliflower florets, thinly sliced
Olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
~½ tbsp fresh thyme, minced
~5 cured black olives, sliced
~6 white anchovies
~¼ cup parmesan cheese


Combine the flour, yeast, salt, and water together in a large bowl and stir until it forms a sticky, but cohesive mass.  Cover and let the dough sit on the countertop for a whole day.  After 24 hours, punch the dough down with floured hands and divide the dough in half.  Use the other half for another pizza, or prepare a small bread loaf.  See a technique for doing so here.

Let the pizza dough rise for 1 hour, covered. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl toss the red onion in vinegar with a little salt; set aside. Combine the butter, parsley, and minced garlic by kneading it a bit with your hands; place it in another small bowl and set aside. On a baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme and roast until the cauliflower is golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. 

When the dough is ready, generously oil another sheet pan. Stretch and shape the pizza dough into a form of your choosing.  Place the dough in the pan with the oil, stretching it until it's fairly even in thickness.  Drizzle the top of the dough with a little olive oil, spreading it towards the edges (a few teaspoons or so), and then spread on the parsley butter.  Add the red onions, shaking off any excess vinegar so they aren’t too wet.  Cook the pizza at 425 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. Then, add the cauliflower, black olives, anchovies, and dusting of parmesan.  Continue to cook for 15-25 minutes more, or until both the top and bottom of the crust is golden brown.

Makes 1 small flatbread (serves about 2)

-You’ll want to start this dough approximately 26 hours before you plan to eat pizza.

-Now, of course you could simply use this dough as a delivery system for any number of your favorite toppings.  I just like fighting for the little guy.  And anchovies don't get no respect.

-I didn’t want to divide the dough amounts in half to make 1 pizza because I wasn’t sure if it would change the fermenting of dough.  Plus, I wanted bread. So you'll have extra.