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.
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 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.