Making Things: Lemon Frozen Greek Yogurt

It’s pouring rain today, but that won’t stop me from posting ice cream recipes! It has finally been acting like a proper summer here in the foothills… until today, that is, when we had a spectacular all-afternoon downpour that sent the chickens running for shelter and completely flooded the new duck pond I’d just finished building this morning (more on that later!) Of course, the rain is great for the seeds I planted, at long last, in my flower garden; and, really, it does cool things off ever so nicely. That’s the only catch: It no longer feels quite so much like ice cream weather — but in a few days things will heat up again, no doubt, and that’s where this recipe comes in!

So: my favourite new ice cream recipe, I think. Which is saying something, as I love love love making ice cream. My sweetheart gave me a super-duper electric ice cream maker a couple years ago for my birthday — boy, does he know me! — and I’ve been fascinated with the making of frosty confections ever since. Electric ice cream makers are genius, by the way; the old-fashioned hand cranked model has its nostalgic charms, sure, but how often do you actually feel like using the thing? Maybe once a summer? Fast forward to the ‘lectric version — just switch it on, toss in your ingredients, and let it do the rest. Et voilá: homemade ice cream whenever you like! On a whim! Got some extra strawberries? You know what to do!

Now, once you’re set up with your nifty machine, it can be tempting to go a little crazy with the ice cream thing. So many possibilities! But after a few rich, cream-heavy, custard based concoctions and complicated all-day recipes, you might be looking for something a little lighter — and simpler. How simple? Well, if you happen to have some lemon curd on hand, it’s just a matter of stirring together three ingredients and switching on the machine. No lemon curd? Don’t despair — it’s easy to make, and you can always buy a jar in a pinch…. but, if you have the time, absolutely do try making some from scratch! The recipe here comes straight from my dear friend Thea, who hails from the Magical Land of Lemons and Citrus, a.k.a. Penryn, California (a few short miles down the road from us, and a few very crucial degrees warmer in climate.) It’s absolutely heavenly folded together with whipped cream and dolloped on angel-food cake or with fresh berries, so by all means, do make extra. As Thea says, it lasts refrigerated for about a week — but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to keep everyone away from it for that long!

So, on to the recipes! The frozen yogurt is super simple and so addictive — it’s perfect for the summer party when you want to make something dressy for dessert but don’t want to turn on the oven or spend all day on it. And to top it off, it’s yogurt, after all; you could argue that it’s quite healthy. What are you waiting for? Whip up a batch and dig in!

Lemon Frozen Greek Yogurt

The measurements for this recipe are all pretty loose; no need to get out the measuring cups if you can eyeball an approximate 2/3 cup of lemon curd. I haven’t yet tried it with low- or non-fat yogurt, but I suspect it would work well with those, too. I do wish I had a better photo here, but as you can see, the ice cream was almost gone by the time I got out my camera!

• 3 cups (24 oz) Greek-style yogurt  (I use “The Greek Gods” brand, Traditional Plain style; you could use any full-fat Greek yogurt.)
• 2/3 cup lemon curd (see recipe below)
• 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar  (to taste, and depending on how sweet your lemon curd is)
• Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Stir together yogurt, lemon curd, and 1/3 cup sugar until smooth. Freeze in your ice cream mixer according to its instructions — it takes about half an hour to freeze in mine (an electric Cuisinart). Stir in lemon zest just before you turn off the machine (or stop cranking the thing, if you’re doing it the old-fashioned way!)

Scrape the ice cream out of the machine into a chilled bowl or container. Cover tightly and freeze for at least a couple hours before serving. For the best scoopability, remove the ice cream from the freezer a few minutes before serving. It’s lovely on its own, but if you’d like to gild the lily a bit, add a sprinkling of fresh blueberries, drizzle with honey and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Thea’s Lemon Curd

A very rich, tangy, egg-thickened custard great on toast, as a cake filling, etc.

• 4 egg yolks
• 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar (or to taste)
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• Grated zest of 1 lemon (if you like)

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a small saucepan or the top of a double boiler. The double boiler takes a little longer, but it’s safer – you’re less likely to overcook the eggs or burn the custard, both of which are easy to do!

So, in your vessel of choice, add the lemon juice and butter to the sugar and eggs. Cook it over low heat (if you’re just using a pan, use the lowest possible heat!), whisking until the butter melts to get everything mixed well.

After the butter is melted, I usually switch to a spoon to stir with, since it’s easier to get into the corners. Keep stirring, frequently with a double boiler or constantly with a saucepan. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides to keep it from sticking. The mixture will be frothy at first, but that will go away as the custard starts to thicken.

Cook it until it is thick enough so that when you lift a spoon out of it the back of the spoon stays coated, and you can draw a line through it with your finger that doesn’t go away. You don’t want it to boil at all (keep stirring!), but it often starts to bubble just about when it’s done. It will thicken more as it cools. You don’t want the custard to be lumpy, which happens if the eggs get overdone.

If you see a few lumps, you can pour the curd through a sieve. After that, add the lemon zest. If it’s not sweet enough for you at this point, you can add a little more sugar and stir it in too. Let it cool in a bowl with waxed paper or greased parchment sitting directly on the surface of the curd – this keeps it from forming a skin. Some people use plastic wrap instead.

Keep it in a jar in the fridge – it keeps for about a week, but it doesn’t usually stay around that long in my house!
Bon appetit!

Thanks, Thea, for the fabulous recipe!



Filed under making things, preserving, recipes, spring, summer

3 responses to “Making Things: Lemon Frozen Greek Yogurt

  1. Mikail

    Hey this sounds so yummy that I am almost beside myself right now just thinking about when can we have some!!!!??? Next up how about a Blackberry sorbet version of this for a future installment?

    Oooo yum yum!

  2. Thea

    Thanks so much for the recipe! We’re making it today to have with plum pie. What a perfect summer treat (now that it actually feels like summer)! I’ll second Mikail’s request for the blackberry sorbet recipe. Yummy!

    Hope to see you soon!

    • Boorinakis Harper Ranch

      Oooh, that sounds fantastic! OK, by popular demand, that recipe we came up with a couple summers ago for blackberry-buttermilk sherbet will be coming up — as soon as the berries are ripe!

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