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My plan to make Blackberry Frozen Yogurt was not intentionally for Easter. However, looking at the photos, I think they scream what the holiday represents to me: Spring, berries, vibrant color, and of course chocolate. When we were younger, my sister and I would go on traditional easter egg hunts, but the eggs we hunted were plastic, and the contents of those eggs were chocolate and candy. Maybe it’s an American thing, or maybe it’s just something we did in my house, but as a child it seems that the excitement level is much higher when chocolate is involved (what kid wants to hunt for hard-boiled eggs anyway?). So when I set out to make frozen yogurt a week before Easter, I knew chocolate must be included. 

The thing is, I love to make ice cream, but I have never had any luck with my home machine. The first time I made ice cream was in culinary school, and I was spoiled with a high-tech, professional machine that pumped out the ice cream almost instantaneously. I tried all different kinds of flavors, each more delicious than the next: cinnamon, maple, butternut squash, and creme brulee (I am pretty sure my baking and pasty class fell in the Fall!). Since culinary school though, I haven’t had the opportunity to use a professional machine again. Every restaurant I have worked for has just bought artisan gelato or ice cream (I guess the machines are pretty pricey). So the only time I get to make fresh ice cream is in my own home kitchen, with my $50 Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. Aside from the home maker taking at least twice as along as a professional machine and the quantity being a lot smaller, I can never get anything to freeze hard enough! I always end up with ice cream or yogurt that has the consistency of a smoothie. Now, this may have something to do with me trying to cut calories by using low-fat milk. Or possibly over filling the machine because I have made too much base. But the fact of the matter is, I have been spoiled with the professional machine and I just don’t have a ton of patience with my small one at home.

While cleaning out my kitchen this past week (we are in the process of moving, but that is another story), I came across my Cuisinart Maker and decided to give it another whirl (pun intended). I had a couple of cups of fresh homemade yogurt in my fridge, and thought I should put it to good use! I started with a basic recipe of David Lebovitz’s for Strawberry Frozen Yogurt to make sure I didn’t encounter the previous problems I have had with the home machine. I used his basic quantities, but substituted blackberries for strawberries (because they looked so good at the store), and sugar in the raw for granulated sugar (because I have it on hand and I like the flavor), and added swirls of chocolate ganache. So really, I butchered his recipe and prayed that I would find fro-yo success on my own. Surprisingly I did! My ice cream maker cooperated and made beautiful, FROZEN yogurt (finally not a smoothie consistency). The texture of the yogurt is thick and creamy, and the swirls of sweet chocolate balance out the tartness of the berries nicely. I guess giving my ice cream maker another shot was worth it, I am already planning all the new flavors I can try this summer. As for serving this yogurt on Easter, that’s not happening…my husband and I have already eaten it all. Maybe next year.

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Blackberry Frozen Yogurt with Chocolate Ganache
Adapted from David Lebovitz Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
Yields 1 qt

1 lb Fresh Blackberries
2/3 cups Sugar in the Raw
1 1/4 cup European Yogurt or Homemade Yogurt (low-fat is fine)
2/3 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
*optional – 2 TBSP Cointreau (or any other liquor of your choosing)

  1. Mix the blackberries with the sugar and Cointreau (if you are using liquor). Let the berries macerate for about an hour at room temperature.
  2. Once all the sugar dissolves, place the berries in a blender. Puree until smooth. If you don’t want seeds in the frozen yogurt (I left them in because I like them), strain the blackberry puree. Return the puree back to the blender along with the yogurt. Mix this base until it is smooth. Refrigerate the base for about an hour, or until the temperature is below 40F.               
  3. Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker, and begin to freeze the base. While the yogurt is freezing, make the ganache. Place chocolate chips and heavy cream into a heat-proof bowl, and place over a pan of simmering water. Stir the chocolate chips into the cream until they are melted. Let the sauce cool to room temperature. Right before the freezing process for the yogurt is finished, drizzle in the cooled ganache and allow it to be swirled into the yogurt. Turn off the ice cream maker and scoop yogurt into a freezer safe container. Place the yogurt in the freezer for at least an hour to allow the yogurt to finish setting up.        
  4. Remove yogurt from freezer 5-10 minutes before serving to allow it to soften up before scooping.