How many of you have ever made your own ice cream? It's really easy isn't it? I mean, whether you've got a motorized "old-style" bucket ice maker, one of the cool Cuisinarts where you pre-freeze the canister insert, or a full fledged commercial monster with it's own built-in compressor (like me, he says shamefully), making home-made ice cream is one of the most rewarding things you can do in your kitchen.
And your kids….are you kidding me? Want to be their hero…….like, forever?
Make ice cream with them and bask in all the glory that is rightfully yours.
Guess what? As easy as making your own ice cream is, making frozen yogurt is even easier. Why? Because with ice cream you need to start by making a custard base which you flavor and freeze, and this requires a touch of real cooking. With frozen yogurt, the yogurt takes place of the custard, lending richness and body to your frozen treat, so all you have to do is add whatever ingredients you are using to flavor the yogurt, toss it all into your ice cream machine and hit the GO button.
I've made ice cream for years, but this was my first go at a frozen yogurt. In all honesty I probably would have tried making some before, but for many years have not been a fan of the yogurts we can buy here in the States. When I lived in Paris I ate gorgeous yogurts daily, but the over-sugared, fruit-on-the-bottom, gelatinous goo that has passed for yogurt here for years, I've avoided at all costs. Thankfully, the past few years have brought a sea-change in the quality of the yogurts available here in the States. Small artisanal producers are making yogurts that rival the best in Europe, and some national brands have introduced some "Greek Style" yogurts that are quite good. For this recipe I used a new "Vanilla Bean" Greek Style yogurt by the folks at Cabot Creamery in Vermont…it is awesome!
This is yet another dish that came about in an effort to rid the pantry of some goodies that were overstaying their welcome. The culprit this time, a container of blood orange purée that seemed to have established permanent residency on the middle door shelf of the fridge….oops. It had been sitting there for months, ever since I went on a bender at Sid Wainer's Gourmet Outlet in New Bedford (the place should be called Sid Wainer's Foodie Crack-House if you ask me).
Yes, I know I have a problem. The way some of you ladies struggle to say no to a new pair of shoes or a handbag, I am a beaten man when it comes to turning my back on exotic fruit purées and nut oils……help me, please.
My wife, tiring of seeing the purée hogging so much valuable fridge space, finally implored me to find a use for the stuff, and so, here we are with a recipe that delivers a grown-up version of the orange creamsicles we all used to love as kids. If you don't have blood oranges available, regular oranges will work fine enough, but don't try to substitute regular yogurt for Greek Style, its too thin and the consistency of your final dish will suffer. If you can't find Greek Style yogurt where you shop, you'll need to strain regular yogurt through a cheesecloth-lined sieve for for about 24 hours in your fridge to thicken it. The tang of the yogurt, richness of the vanilla, and sophisticated sweetness of the blood orange make for a very special frozen treat…you're gonna love this one.
If you're interested in more new ideas for your ice cream maker (or yet another excuse to finally go BUY ONE ), stay tuned because the girls and I will be back soon to share a recipe that uses a basil ice cream we made the other day when we were churnin'-burnin' fools.
Cheers – Steve
Blood Orange Frozen Yogurt
- 32 ounces vanilla flavored Greek Style yogurt
- 2 cups blood orange juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon Cointreau or Grand Marnier
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste, or the seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
- Take the blood orange juice and the sugar and combine them in a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally until reduced by half to 1 cup. Let cool to room temperature before proceeding.
- In a large bowl, or in the hopper of a food processor combine the yogurt, reduced juice, Cointreau and vanilla paste. Mix until well combined and the yogurt is smooth. Place the mix in the fridge to fully cool.
- Freeze the mix per the operating instructions of your ice cream machine's manufacturer. Transfer the mix from the machine to a freezer safe container and freeze the mix completely. Enjoy!