Monday, September 17, 2007

Chillin' on a rainy day:
Strawberry balsamic frozen yoghurt

It's 59 degrees and raining, so what am I doing? Making strawberry frozen yoghurt! You'd think I would have decided to get the frozen dessert bug earlier in the summer when it was in the 90s every friggin' day, but no.

Two things pushed me: the strawberry balsamic ice cream I had in San Francisco last week was so delectable, and then I happened to get a copy of David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop." It's been praised twice by Sam over at Becks & Posh (here and here). No figs at Safeway, but some pretty good-looking strawberries, cheap. If you don't have "The Perfect Scoop," David Lebovitz has posted the recipe here.

(I'll check Whole Paycheck Foods later this week for figs -- a couple years ago I found some there at $1 for a whole basket on the verge of going bad. I ate them all quickly to save them from such a sad fate, and felt virtuous.)
I was going to make ice cream, but the simplicity of the frozen yoghurt recipe appealed to me. Strawberries, sugar, yoghurt, lemon juice, and vodka or kirsch. The alcohol is optional, but a little splash of it helps keep the yoghurt from freezing too hard. I had no kirsch on hand, but vodka? Of course!
The recipe says to remove the stems and hull the strawberries. "Hull"? To me, that means "remove the skin or shell" (the hull), but I guessed that here it means "remove the hard white center part that doesn't taste like much."

If I'm wrong, let me know.

Trying to take this shot while balancing the camera on top of the yoghurt container (plus all the times I've had to brace the camera on something in low light for long exposures) has pushed me over the edge from "I should get a tripod" to "I'm going to the camera store today." I want a Gorillapod, so if the store doesn't have it, I'll order one from Amazon.
The strawberries macerate (are macerated?) for an hour on the counter and stirred occasionally. "Macerate" is a strange word; it feels like it should mean something active, like mashing, masticating or masturb ... er, something else. But it's just soaking/steeping. I should look up the etymology. Maybe later.

Then the strawberries go in the blender with the yoghurt and lemon juice. But I was thinking, OK, lemon's acidic, balsamic vinegar is acidic. Why not fig balsamic? So in that went. Into my classic Waring blender, bought for $5 at a rummage sale 20 years ago. Not bad!
I don't like strawberry seeds in my ice cream, so out came the chinois Mom brought back from France years ago. Thanks, Mom! I've now added one of those wooden pokey/mashy things to my mental wishlist of kitchen gadgets. In the meantime, a spatula works OK. Smoooooooth!

Then out came another gadget courtesy of Mom: the Donvier ice cream maker. Thanks, Mom! No salt, no ice, no electricity, no kidding.

It really is magic. You pour your ice cream mix in, turn the paddle a few times, then again every few minutes. Voilà, frozen treat.
The result was delicious, at least the little taste I got. I had to quick pack it in tupperware and toss it in the freezer; as usual, I pushed food prep right up until I had to go to work, with no time to enjoy what I'd made. But that's OK; it's waiting for me when I get home.

Next post: the money shot.

P.S. But for the sake of completeness after the fact, I'll post it here, too. Turned out great! Had to use raspberries with mint leaves for garnish since I forgot to save out a strawberry. I think I would use a little more balsamic next time, too. I used a melon baller to scoop and served in a champagne glass. This is super-delicious!


  1. It surely looks yummy! I love your step-by-steps - always good for a chuckle!

  2. Mmmm, looks fabulous.
    Your m-word montage was pretty funny.


  3. I love my blender.

    At Costco one day I saw a cheezy plastic one with a kajillion attachments, called a "personal blending station." I can just picture the brainstorming session that came up with that one.

  4. Next time you're in the Bay Area you should check out "Cookin' Recycled Gourmet Appurtenances." (It was mentioned in this NYTimes article - ) Its a little space *packed* with 'gently used' cooking paraphenalia. Baking stuff, serving trays, utensils, etc. Like a very good garage sale (unfortunately without garage-sale prices). Lots of potential.

  5. Oh, now that sounds verrrry dangerous. (better link since Blogger has seen fit to cut off the URL.) I'll definitely check it out in November. Thanks!

  6. :-)

    Great cooks think alike!

    I just used the Donvier for the first time 2 days ago when I taught a cooking class. We made frozen yogurt with it and I really like the machine.

    It's quiet. Mine at home sounds like pulling teeth from a donkey

  7. Jaden, is your machine electric? This Donvier is hand-cranked, so there's no noise at all.

    You have to watch over it and turn the paddle every few minutes to scrape down the sides, but since the whole process only takes about 20 minutes, that's not any more arduous than, say, making a roux. (And no chance of burning it. At worst you have to open it up and scrape down the sides with a spatula if you wait too long between turns.)

  8. I used to have a Donvier! I just upgraded this year to an electric one. Love the sounds of this fro-yo.

  9. Hi Brilynn. Thanks for stopping by! The Donvier is kind of a relic; my mom bought it when they first came out, sometime in the '80s. She says that's what she got everyone for Christmas that year. I wonder if anyone else who got one then still has it and uses it?

    It's so nicely designed, sturdy and efficient, unlike a lot of gadgets that come and go.

  10. Hi Kitt

    I am so glad you liked the book especially as I mouthed off about it so much. I also made the pear sorbet which was excellent too but I deviated from David's recipe by adding a slug of Pear Eau de VIe which worked a treat.

    sorry to have taken so long to get back to you but I am here in the end


  11. Hey Sam, thanks for the inspiration! Mmm ... pear eau de vie bears searching out.

  12. Macerate comes from the Latin verb "macerare," which means, "made soft, soaked."

  13. Aha, thanks, Groovy.

    Except I now have a certain song stuck in my head.