Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Frozen Yogurt Adventure/Experiment: Lemon Ginger Fro Yo

When I was a kid, I was in love with Dannon's Lemon flavor yogurt. There was something about its tangy, yet sweet, flavor that drove me wild. My mom would buy tons of it because I'd go through it so quick. She would jokingly say that there was something unnatural about a kid liking yogurt this much, and that she'd soon have to hook me up to a yogurt IV drip. Which come to think of it...sounds kind of gross.

Damn, Mom.

Anyway, they stopped making it at some point during my grammar school years, and I was all sorts of heartbroken. Fast forward to the present....

I'm a baker for a very lovely cupcake company, and sometimes we have by-products of things left in the kitchen. We were making Hot Toddy cupcakes, and those are topped with our hand-candied lemon peels. We had a ton of lemon syrup leftover from the peels we'd candied, and I volunteered to give it a home. But what the hell would I do with it??

Then, across the sands of time, my 7 year old self reached forth, and her little hands tugged at my apron...she turned her big brown eyes up and me and said:

"Lemon yogurt, please?"

How could anyone say no to a 7 year old version of themselves?

I remembered that Alton Brown had a tasty looking recipe for Lemon Ginger Frozen Yogurt from the Good Eats episode "Good Milk Gone Bad", which was all about yogurt making and yogurt recipes. It didn't use lemon syrup....but I thought I could maybe change that. I planned to stick to the recipe, but make some changes along the way.

My cast of characters:

That brown bottle right there? That's Ginger Syrup, made by a delightful little company called Morris Kitchen. They're from Brooklyn, and their syrups are made in small batches. I was lucky enough to pick up a bottle of their Ginger Syrup and their Boiled Apple Cider Syrup at a market. I honestly haven't used them much, aside from making some kick ass ginger ale, and a really good bourbon apple cocktail. I really wanted to see what the Ginger Syrup could do for this recipe.

Instead of using regular yogurt and straining it overnight, I decided to use my favorite Greek yogurt. It's already strained! Use 32 oz of it and put it in a large bowl.

Next, zest and squeeze two lemons to get 2 tsp of zest and 3 tbsp of juice. My lemons were pretty large, so I think I got a little more than that, which was fine with me. I wanted the yogurt to be bright and full of lemony goodness. Instead of the 3/4th cup of granulated sugar, I substituted the same amount of lemon sugar syrup.

I know it looks curdle-y now...but just whisk it it, and it'll look fine and homogenized.

I started adding the ginger syrup a tablespoonful at a time. After two, I was pretty satisfied with the taste. Always taste when you're cooking or baking! It helps to develop your palate, and it lets you know if you have to add more or less of something.

Whisk it in, and then grate in your fresh ginger. The recipe also calls for crystallized ginger, but 1. I didn't have any in the house, and I didn't feel like candying my own and 2. I wanted the ginger to add a slight fresh bite, but keep the lemon as the star.

After more whisking and tasting, it was exactly where I wanted it. I put it into a clean container, covered it, and let the flavors marry overnight.

Before throwing it in the ice cream machine the next day, I gave it one more stir and taste. Mmm, yes, I was ready to roll.

I turned on my ice cream maker, and poured the yogurt mixture in.

I let it churn away for about 25 minutes. When the yogurt is thick, frozen and smooth, you're done!

Now, you're supposed to let this freeze up solid...but, we're all friends here. You know I have no patience whatsoever. So, I dished up a pretty little parfait glass for myself.

I know it's melting...but it's still lovely. I even drizzled a wee bit of ginger syrup on tops just for kicks. And the taste, oh the taste! Tart, sweet, a warm bit of heat from the ginger, but still distinctly lemony. I think my 7 year old self would be quite pleased.