coconut pinkcherry yogurt

Like ten zillion other brides with mile-long registries, I received an ice-cream maker as a wedding shower gift two years ago, but when I finally busted it out last summer, I ended up really struggling to find good recipes. Why so much sugar in a cantaloupe sorbet? Isn’t it already sweet enough? Why should I add an equal part of water to watermelon puree? It’s a weak flavor to begin with, why dilute it so? Why do so many frozen yogurt recipes call for oddities like gelatin and milk? Can’t you just freeze yogurt? These questions nagged at me as I tried recipe after recipe, and save for a single strawberry sorbet that I still dream of late at night, each final product disappointed me in the exact ways that I predicted it would.

Yet, being a newbie in the world of homemade frozen things, I lacked the confidence to go out on my own, which is why when my new best friend (shh, I haven’t told him yet) announced that his newest cookbook would be aptly titled “The Perfect Scoop” I just knew that it would have the guidance that I needed. By some obvious, glaring oversight on the purchasing department of my Chelsea Barnes and Noble had the nerve to not stock it, and in the two weeks between the time I ordered and received the book, my torture was increased tenfold by having to view countless other examples of the awesomeness of this cookbook.

grody cherries

But until I received my own copy, I had no idea that he would demystify the process just so much. Guess how he suggests that you make watermelon sorbet? You puree watermelon, and then you freeze it. Guess how you make frozen yogurt? You take yogurt, and you freeze it. I don’t mean to make the recipes sound simplistic, but by weeding out so many unnecessary ingredients, he gives you the tools to triumph over the glorious complexities like fresh fig, pear pecorino and chocolate peanut butter ice cream. (Shoot, I was going to try to keep that one from Alex. Guess what I’ll be begged into making next?)

I broke my own rule–that the first time I make a recipe, I follow it verbatim–when I made my first of many Lebovitz-inspired desserts Sunday night, adapting his vanilla yogurt to a jacked-up coconut cherry almond variety, which we ate with teeth-clattering glee after our noodle salads. I haven’t been to this pink berry place yet (that I wish someone would call a moratorium on referencing), but after a wee bowl of this stuff, it’s safe to say I never will.

coconut pinkcherry carnage

Coconut Pinkcherry Yogurt
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop

Makes about 1 quart

3 cups strained yogurt* or Greek-style yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup cherries, pits removed and roughly chopped
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

Mix together the yogurt, sugar, almond extract, cherries and coconut milk. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

* To make 1 cup (240g) of strained yogurt, line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheese cloth, then scrape 16 ounces or 2 cups (480g) of plain whole-milk yogurt into the cheesecloth. Gather the ends and fold them over the yogurt, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

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90 comments on coconut pinkcherry yogurt

  1. Nicole

    The ice cream maker and book are already on my birthday list. I’ve heard rave reviews as well. I can’t wait!

  2. Ann

    After wanting an ice cream maker all last summer, this spring I finally purged enough to make cupboard space for it. And had to buy the book, naturally. So far I’ve done strawberry sorbet, roasted banana ice cream and chocolate ice cream (the one where he said he licked the dasher). All = HEAVENLY. Particularly the banana and chocolate together!

  3. I’ve been swooning over this book now as everyone else has. After reading Orangette’s post on mint ice cream I was in love. Yesterday I purchased the ice cream freezer bowl for my mixer and now I need the book!
    This recipe looks absolutely lovely.

  4. see, the pinkberry place IS what made me get an ice cream maker and david’s book in the first place! i am so excited about making this stuff, i have been thinking all day about new flavors to try.

  5. deb

    You should have it on Monday because I have another BBQ to go to on Sunday. I am worth scheduling around, you see, because I bring treats.

  6. Cherries and coconut milk with yogurt? I’m drooling. I’ve had a moratorium on buying new books because I’m moving, but this is the first one I’ll purchase once I’m settled into my new place. CAN’T WAIT.

  7. Arghhhh!! I really wish people would stop talking about this book – I have been waiting for my copy, but my patience is wearing thin!! I seriously check the mailbox 3 times a day!

  8. Kim

    I bought this fabulous book last weekend! I promptly made the Lemon-Buttermilk Sorbet. My partner waxed poetic about it and even compared it to his mom’s Lemon Silk Ice Cream. Next up was the Vanilla Bean and got rave reviews. I definately am going to make the Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream from David’s blog next. So much for my waistline!

  9. Seriously, you’re brilliant, what a great combination. I already made the salted butter caramel and it was divine, but this would be much friendlier on the waistline. It will at least tide me over until I can make the fresh fig ice cream when those come into season.

  10. I completely understand the feeling of deprivation. I don´t have an ice cream maker, hence I can´t buy David´s book yet… but I´m thinking maybe I can pull a Carrie Bradshaw and tell everyone I´m getting married to myself so I can get an ice cream maker! (don´t judge me, some people want Manolos, I want a Cuisinart.)

  11. Jelena

    An ice cream machine is on my wish list for this summer. The few occasions I’ve made ice cream (a lemon one by Elizabeth David and a Margarita one by Nigella Lawson) it’s taken forever to freeze it and mix it up so it has an ice creamy texture. I should definitely plead the case to my parents. I’ve also made Ina’s mango sorbet twice in two weeks and it was good, but it’d just be so much better with an ice cream maker. My only issues with ice cream is the amount of egg whites that get left over, if there is a custard and the amount of cream, so frozen yougurt would be a better option. I’m going to dream about chocolate peanut butter ice cream tonight :)

    P.S. Marce that is an excellent idea!

  12. deb

    Marce — I totally agree. These embarrassments of riches are totally hoarded by the Smug Married. Then again, if I had a KitchenAid, I’m not sure that I would have ever left my apartment when I was single…;)

    Jelena — Did you know you can freeze egg whites for future use? I just learned this. Just make sure to label how many are in there, or use 2 tablespoons = 1 large egg white as a rough guide. Also, David L. has some Philadelphia-style ice creams in the book–just frozen cream and flavorings! Yeeks. But you know, no extra egg whites.

  13. Jen

    delurking to discuss my favorite topic…strained (or Greek-style) yogurt. it is the best thing EVER! i originally discovered it through ina’s orange yogurt recipe (strained yogurt reconstituted with OJ, honey, vanilla, etc.) but then realized it can be used for almost anything that calls for mayo/sour cream/cream cheese. for example, use it for chicken salad instead of mayo (just flavor the yogurt with lemon juice/zest, salt, pepper). it is a million times better for you – with calcium, probiotics, protein, and i use fat free yogurt – and you will NEVER miss the mayo.

    a few things to note, it’s best to get either an organic or Dannon Natural yogurt because others contain gelatin so they don’t strain well. also, if you don’t have cheese cloth, just line a strainer with a couple layers of paper towels…it will work just as well. finally, to speed up the straining process, i’ve taken to putting a sauce pan on top of the yogurt in the strainer and putting something heavy in it to weight it down (the whey can drain in 15-20 minutes this way). i have no patience when it comes to my yogurt! i could go on forever, but i have yogurt straining as i type…must get the yogurt…

  14. B is not allowed to view your site ANYMORE. I must read your blog late at night and when I know that he’s in REM sleep. Do you know what trouble you’ve caused? We don’t have room for an ice cream maker and I don’t have a registry to register for one.

    B saw the pic of the ice cream and out of his mouth came, “That looks good.” You can equate that to Alex begging for PB & Chocolate ice cream – tell Alex I’ll help champion his cause! Now, I owe B ice cream and a grapefruit pound cake. Yeah, he remembered.

  15. JennBec

    Question – do you think it’s possible to use Splenda instead of sugar for this recipe? I’ve been told to watch my sugar intake and would love to make this if you think it would still turn out with Splenda….I can’t abide a life without ice cream!

  16. Jessica

    I also have a question though it would technically go better with the oreo post – what kind of pastry icing bag do you use? I have been looking for one that has the wider opening in the tip so my cupcakes can look as pretty as yours do when you used them, but I just can’t find a very wide one. Do you know what size yours is or what number the tip is?

  17. deb

    Jenifer — Ahem, now, I’m not trying to start anything, but surely B knows a way to get both you a registry and the ice cream maker that comes in tow. I mean, he wants ice cream, doesn’t he? (Though, I actually recommend that you get a KitchenAid, if you don’t have one, and it’s ice cream maker bowl instead. Why get an extra machine if you don’t need it? The KA motor is better than those in most ice cream makers, anyway.)

    JennBec — I do. I haven’t cooked with it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work, presuming that it dissolves when you mix it.

    Jessica — I have a big one, and also some disposable ones that came with a kit. Any half-inch round tip should do, and for the cookies you could probably go even bigger since the filling is so thick.

  18. I have been able to stave off purchasing an ice cream maker for years now – convincing myself that my counterspace has no room for it and that it’s safer not to have one around, you know, for the waistline and all. But with the publication of David’s book and with all these posts about his frozen delights, my iron will is melting. This post and your pinkcherry has been the final straw. Small kitchen and waistline be damned. I need an ice cream machine! (And yes, PLEASE bring the moratorium on Pinkberry. It’s right around the corner from my apartment and the out-the-door-line ticks me off every time I see it. I’m such a curmudgeon.)

  19. Jessica

    What is the easiest way to fill mini muffin cups with batter? Something is telling me that the ice cream scoop just isn’t going to work.

  20. Marianne

    Deb, did you use the sweetened coconut milk (like for pina coladas) or the unsweetened one like for Thai cooking? Not obvious to me from the amount of sugar, but maybe I’m just dense and it should be. Thanks

  21. Monday it is–and I think we might have some Marines! Those boys have big appetites, so bring a LOT. Plus you know, they are out there saving the world and shit while we party in NYC, so we should be extra generous to them!

  22. deb

    Luisa — You know, I think the waistline is a great reason to get one of these machines. No excess sugar, no bs ingredients, only exactly what you want so you never have to eat something you didn’t precisely crave. Um, I just can’t make the salted butter caramel… until the fall!

    Marianne — Unsweetened, I will edit to specify. Found it by the Asian ingredients–a Thai brand. If you can only find sweetened, def. drop the sugar down a lot.

  23. Julie in KC

    Deb — Huge fan of your site, so much so that I get a little sad when you have to work and can’t post on a daily basis. Yesterday, HGTV shot a segment in my condo for their show “What you get for the money”; they had one request, to host a dinner party with friends to highlight our killer kitchen. I used two of your recipes — Barefoot Contessa’s Panzanella and the original frozen yogurt. Both recipes were amazing and the salad especially played well for the camera. The frozen yogurt was, well, WOW!!! Everyone loved it. I used Dannon Plain Natural Yogurt, so I’m interested in other yogurts that might work well and I’m ready to start using my own ingredients. I plan to start with honey and sunflower seeds. Thanks for the great recipes and lively commentary.

  24. Fabulous photos — I can taste this ice cream from here. I just ordered The Perfect Scoop from Amazon and went down to our tiny local book shop that same afternoon and there it was! I could have been instantly gratified, but no…. sigh.

  25. Dag! I didn’t get an ice cream maker when we got married.

    I did find out however that my new sister in law & I have one very cool thing in common – YOU!

    Deb rocks.

  26. We finally threw out an ice cream maker that never worked properly, not even once. But now you’ve got me ready to try it again. Any recommendations on a decent brand to try?

  27. Ok, I’m going to break down and buy the book. You and everyone else has broken me down by recipes to finally get it. Sad. Thank god its summer.

  28. Gorgeous! I made his roasted banana and caramel ice cream the other day and they were done before I could take a pic!
    I am now craving a big bowl of cherries…I have raspeberries in the freezer, I bet that would work.

  29. I still don’t understand why frozen yogurt isn’t just that… frozen yogurt. I put two yogurt cups in my boyfriend’s freezer a while ago and told him to check later that night because I had a dessert surprise for him… which ended up being very cold (but not frozen) yogurt. Oh well.

  30. Judy

    Quick ‘sorbet’…freeze a can of peaches or pears packed in juice. When it’s frozen chop it into pieces and toss into your blender…blend until the correct consistency, you can also do this with an immersion blender

    I’m going to guess that it would work well with other canned fruits as well.
    Does anyone have a recipe for chocolate sorbet?

  31. I seriously want to climb through the monitor and eat that ice cream right now…must be lunch time. I may have to reconsider my own personal boycott of purchasing appliances (I tend to inherit them…)…..

  32. Joni

    You must know about Harold McGee, right? His second book, The Curious Cook, has this nifty little chart (or maybe it’s several charts) for sorbet and you cannot go wrong with them. He talks about the effect of sugar and alcohol and water. Oooh yum. We made the best raspberry sorbet. My mouth is still watering thinking of it:)

    Now I’ll have to go check out the Lebovitz book and have my dh read it so we can try out some of these fabulous sounding ice creams (that we really shouldn’t be eating anyway…)

  33. My goodness, my dear, look what you started with this pink yogurt! That last shot has been haunting me for days. We’re moving tomorrow. I’ve been packing for days. I’ve already made three ice creams or frozen yogurts out of the book, and I love them all. I don’t need to make this pink yogurt. But the ice cream maker isn’t packed yet….

    Oh, thanks a lot!

  34. Kat

    I’ve had the same experience with my ice cream maker…of course, I am a terribly impatient person – with very little freezer space. I did make a really nice peach frozen yogurt last year though, which was my only success, unfortunately. (It was a recipe that came with the machine.)

    I am going to check out that cookbook! Thanks for the tip!

    Oh, and when you tell Dave that he is your new best friend, please pass along a word from me…he’s so cute!

  35. Oh man this looks good! And I literally just put the ice cream maker in the ‘shlep to storage container’ pile to make room for ‘new baby’ stuff . . . might have to rethink priorities.

    On an interesting parallel, my friend just served a ‘noyeux’ ice cream last night that she’d made with the pits of her freshly picked cherries (tastes like almonds) and served with the cherries themselves. Delish!

  36. Liz

    I made this for our Memorial Day bbq and it was a huge hit! Even my mom, who doesn’t like coconut, thought it was luscious. The fresh cherries really make it. Thanks for the recipe!

  37. Oh. my. gawd. I was holding out until later this month when I pick up his book at a local signing, but you’ve stretched my reserve to the absolute limit with this one… I may have to try it before I buy the book!

  38. Guess what I’m making today??!?! I can’t wait. The hard part is waiting…waiting…strain yogurt strain! Do you think substituting coconut extract for the almond extract would make it taste just as good? Or would it be too coconutty? (if there is such a thing!)

  39. Oh man, how much do I want an icecream maker!! That looks completely delicious, and I’m quite certain I need some this instant! I wonder what the combination would be like in cake or clafoutis form? Hmm… I think I’ll just have to experiment with that!!
    Lovely as always

  40. Oh my…my kitchen gets smaller with every gadget…but this might be a must-have with summer approaching!! You’ve really sold the idea with this crazy delicious recipe!!!! Very nice work!

  41. Carrberry

    We made this frozen yogurt a few times now and love it. What a yummy combination. We added some shaved dark chocolate to it once, it was good, but I like it better without. Trader Joes has frozen cherries, light coconut milk, and greek yogurt, which makes it a very easy last minute dessert. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  42. I was inspired by your cherries cornmeal upsidedown cake recipe to go get in-season (in CA) cherries from the local farmers market … and then I found this recipe on your website and everything changed. I made this recipe without straining the yogurt (I’m lazy) and it was so good! We couldn’t stop eating it. I think I’m going to make this all the time. And when cherries go out of season, I’ll find new flavor combos … like pineapple!

  43. teapottery

    I christened my new KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment with this recipe today. What a fantastic recipe! I used Greek style yogurt and German jarred cherries from Trader Joes. Simple and DELICIOUS, thank you, thank you, thank you!

  44. Oh man. We forgot the almond extract and still this recipe is amazing. We chopped a bar of dark chocolate because we craved crunch and it was very delicious. This will be a great recipe to play around with.

  45. ruby

    So far this week, we’ve made the broccoli slaw and the red pepper soup – both were amazing and so easy! Thanks for all these recipes. I need to make this frozen yogurt for a cherry-fiend’s bday but he is allergic to coconut! Can I replace the coconut milk with regular milk for him?

  46. Marilee

    I made this yesterday and it is so wonderful, the occasion I made it for will be lucky to get any since I’m getting selfish and seriously considering hoarding it all. ;)
    My niece is graduating from high school this week and the family is having a party for her on Friday night and, as usual, I’m going overboard and making several varieties of ice cream/sorbet/frozen yogurt. I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for so long and I finally have an occasion. I did not have almond extract, and didn’t want to buy it just for this, so I used a Tablespoon or so of kirsch to get a little alcohol in there to keep it from freezing too hard. (I got that idea from David Lebovitz’ book “The Perfect Scoop”, aka my ice cream bible — such an outstanding book!) But to get the almond flavor to go along with the coconut and cherries, I toasted from sliced almonds, chopped them up and threw them into the churn in the last 5 minutes. Deb, it’s outstanding. I can hear the stuff calling me clear at the other end of the house. [groan]
    Now . . . what to do with the rest of those cherries . . .

  47. I made this tonight, using half full-fat and half fat-free greek yogurt and light coconut milk. OH. MY. GOSH. I am not even kidding, it’s the best fro-yo I’ve ever had. It will be gone by tomorrow. (morning.)

  48. Craig

    The pinkcherry yogurt was the second recipe I have made since getting my ice cream maker for my birthday (after chocolate sorbet of course!) I substituted frozen cherries for the fresh and saved tons of pitting time. The finished product is out of this world.

  49. kimiya

    Oh my lord, this was SO insanely delicious and well-received I think it is all I will ever give anyone as a gift for ever more (frozen yogurt is a TOTALLY legit gift, right??)! Used half 0% and half 2% Fage yogurt and lite coconute milk and it was, in a word, dreamy. Just as well I gave 80% of it away…since I consumed the other 20% within 24 hours! :)

  50. Christyna

    I write this comment while also spooning moundfulls of coconut pinkcherry frozen yogurt into my mouth. I made this about four days ago and I am finishing the last of it off right now as I type. I LOVE coconut, and I adore cherries. What a great combo that I never thought of! This was the best frozen treat that I have ever had. Thanks so much for the recipe and the reference to the “Perfect Scoop.” I’m always on the look out for good cookbooks. After making this I had to go out and buy a copy and it’s wonderful! I used frozen cherries & whole milk yogurt, which (once I strained it) only gave me two cups, so I reduced the rest of the ingredients as well. It still yielded a big amount, and I have been a happy camper and cannot wait to make it again.

  51. Kate in AUSTRALIA

    This sounds incredible, I am going to make it today! I have been following you for a while now and absolutely love your blog! Thankyou :)

  52. Beth

    So good! I subbed in rhubarb that I softened with some water and sugar on the stovetop for the cherries, and the coconut worked just great with it. Love it! Thanks Deb!

  53. lisa

    I used the 2% greek yogurt and light coconut milk. Didn’t have fresh cherries, but found frozen. it is fantastic. Now I’m wondering about making it with Splenda.

  54. I don’t have an ice cream maker, but this looks delicious! Would it work to just freeze this mix in ice pop molds and have frozen yogurt pops? I know it wouldn’t have the airy ice cream texture, but it would at least have the same flavor.

  55. Have you found a good way to make this scoopable the next day? Maybe adding a certain amount of alcohol? I know I’ve tried this a little in the past, but now want to be able to share the ice cream with my toddler, so am wondering if there is something else that you’ve found that works.

  56. amy

    I’m 18 weeks pregnant today, and everyone keeps asking if I’m experiencing any cravings so far. Up until right now, I would have said no, not really. Sadly, I don’t have an ice cream maker. Thank heavens I do have a Kitchen aid stand mixer. So, naturally, I just ordered the ice cream maker attachment (I feel so enlightened to know about its existence!) By this time next week, I should be satisfying my craving for cherry coconut bliss!

  57. m ladd

    I got an ice cream maker for my birthday in March and had the same questions you have raised. I wondered why some recipes had so much sugar or unflavoured geletine. I have read these ingredients can help with the ‘hard as a rock’ problem the next day. I guess its a tradeoff to some extent.

  58. Jesika

    I’m having a devil of a time trying to find whole milk greek yogurt. Would non-fat or 2% greek yogurt do the trick? I’ve tried Fairway, TJs, Whole Foods, and local food stops (stop n shops, shoprite, pathmark, etc) with no luck :(

    Would Siggi’s do the trick? Though the yogurt is either non-fat or 2%, it is fairly thick. Otherwise, I could try straining a “whole milk european style yogurt” I found, but I was hoping to avoid the straining, lol.

    Either way, I’m going to tackle this recipe tomorrow! Thanks :)

  59. MB

    This was delish. I reduced the sugar to 2/3 cup, which tasted perfect, and I used coconut cream which is a little thicker than coconut milk. The only thing I found troublesome (and I find this with all homemade ice cream I’ve tried) is that once it had been in the freezer for a day it froze up really hard. I’ve heard alcohol can help with this so might add a splash of vodka or kirsch in future! It was seriously yummy though, so I didn’t mind too much…

  60. Madeline

    I made this recipe this morning as a celebration treat for my boyfriend and my anniversary tonight. I used dried sour cherries as fresh are no longer in season here, and vanilla extract as I am out of almond. It wasn’t as pink as I am sure it would have been with fresh cherries, but the taste. Oh. My. Goodness. So tart and wonderful. It took all my strength not to call in sick for work and sit in my underwear and eat that whole container. The things we do for love!

  61. Wife To An Amazing Cook

    I made this recipe last week for the non peanut butter eating people at a birthday celebration that starred your peanut butter cheesecake. The taste and texture of this ice cream was so velvety and I loved how the cherry taste really came through. I used non-fat Greek yogurt (b/c that’s what the store had, not out of some duty to lower the fat content!). My kids have requested this again and I suspect the other two summer birthdays at our house will include some variation of this dessert.

  62. Jenifer

    Love it! So simple! So simple in fact, that I didn’t feel too guilty adding some shaved dark chocolate and unsweetened dried coconut shavings :) thank you!

  63. minik

    Okay, I am amazed nobody ever asked this but do you think this would work with strawberries instead? Please say yes.
    Funny story behind this; I came home with all the ingredients plus strawberries and decided I there’s no way I would like a cherry ice cream… As for the cherries, I’m going to search for a clafoutis on SK instead ;)

  64. minik

    Update on strawberries; I diced & macerated them (1 cup) in a little bit of sugar (a little less than 1/4 cup) to make sure they don’t freeze too much and followed the rest. It was delicious! Adding this to my ice cream repertoire, thanks!

  65. I made this and I could have eaten the entire recipe-worth in one sitting. I shared, but I could have finished it myself. I made this with non-fat Greek yogurt (trying to make it WW friendly – I can’t even imagine how delicious it would be with regular yogurt) and it is addicting. It did freeze pretty hard, but I just set it out on the counter for a bit before we want to eat some, and it softens right up. I swear it calls my name when I walk passed the freezer!! Make this, you won’t regret it!! I can’t wait to experiment with other fruits/flavors. Thanks for sharing, Deb! xo

  66. Lulu

    Omg yum!!! This recipe is terrific! I tried subbing some sugar for corn syrup (1/2c corn syrup and ~ 1/4c sugar to taste?), Used non fat Greek yogurt, diluted coconut cream instead of coconut milk, and frozen cherries (thawed & chopped ) instead of fresh and it’s soo good!! The almond + cherry + tangy yogurt is addicting. It does freeze pretty rock solid though, so I may try again with more corn syrup but there will definitely be a next time.