The sun peaked out a bit and the temperature neared 70°F (gasp) today signaling that it was time for me to break out the ice cream maker. The poor thing has been patiently waiting in the freezer since last October.
By now it’s well-known that I have dairy issues and try to stay away from dairy-laden recipes (see Mint Chocolate Chip Soy Ice Cream). But every once in a while I throw caution to the wind, pop a few Lactaid, and live on the edge.
That brings us to today’s successful (and Friday’s failed) experiment of making a refreshingly tart frozen yogurt. My goal was to create a very simple recipe where you wouldn’t need to cook, puree, infuse, strain or chill anything.
Well, let’s just say I came close and the cooking, straining and chilling are optional. Basically, I just couldn’t get the idea of light and refreshing lemon-lavender frozen yogurt out of my head.
I first tried making this with fat-free yogurt into which I mixed in mint extract, lemon juice, minced dried lavender and honey. It was a big fat failure. The mint overpowered all other flavors and the texture of the dried lavender was awful.
Today’s attempt was much better and still very simple. If you want to avoid those few extra steps then simply omit the lavender, but I think it adds a nice, fragrant touch and makes this frozen yogurt a bit more special.
Also don’t be afraid to play with the flavors and sweeteners to fit your mood. Amounts don’t have to be exact either so long as you’re careful not to add too much liquid. Taste the mixture before pouring it into the ice cream maker and adjust the seasonings, just remember that cold subdues flavor so make the batter a bit stronger than you’d ideally like.
Here’s the recipe:
Lemon-Lavender Frozen Yogurt, makes 7 cups
2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 juicy lemons; zest the lemons before juicing)
1 teaspoon dried lavender
1 quart plain yogurt
1/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon minced lemon zest
Combine the lemon juice and lavender in a small pan set over medium-high heat. Bring the liquid just to a boil then decrease the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the dried lavender and lemon pulp. Refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.
Combine the yogurt, honey, vanilla and lemon-lavender juice in a bowl. Mix well and adjust seasonings to taste.
Assemble an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. I use a KitchenAid ice cream bowl attachment which needs to be running at low speed (“stir” setting) before pouring in the batter. Churn for 15 minutes then add in the lemon zest. Continue churning until the yogurt is thick (it won’t be creamy because we didn’t use eggs), about 30 minutes although the time can vary greatly between different ice cream makers.
Transfer the yogurt to a container and cover. Freeze until set, at least 2 hours.
Serve the yogurt on its own or with fresh strawberries.