First, the good news: this is the best damned frozen yogurt I have ever had. Disclaimer: I usually prefer ice cream. With its full-fat preserved. I like it hard-packed and thick. I am not someone that swoons over 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 the egg 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
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 crème 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.