The following is a partial re-print of my column that appeared in today’s Record-Eagle.
The Evil Genius oftentimes has been asked, frequently in my presence, how he avoids weighing 500 pounds eating my cooking. His response has been to grab his belly, moan a little bit, and say “I could easily!” He slid a little into uncomfortable weight territory over the winter and thus has declared himself to be on a health kick. He’s been riding his bike, playing more sports with the boys, watching his food intake and (gasp!) skipping dessert most nights.
All well and good, but the dessert thing I’ve found distressing. I am a baker. I am the sugarplum fairy, for crying out loud. Desserts are what I do. I have always been a little (read: a lot) snotty about healthy desserts. “You want a healthy dessert? Eat an apple!” But even more urgently, he had a birthday coming up soon. Birthdays equal mega-desserts. I didn’t want to serve my husband a cup of granola for his birthday.
My dearly beloved’s disturbing new edict left me with two options; pout or learn to make some spectacular and healthy desserts.
Healthy desserts it was.
In order to compensate for my lack of buttercream and caramel sauce, I went for big, bright fruit flavors and low carbs to accompany them.
I kicked off my healthy dessert experiment with blueberry frozen yogurt. And guess what? The guys couldn’t tell that it was frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. (Sadly, yes, that is my benchmark of success for a healthy dessert. Does it taste healthy? If so, toss and start over.) The conversation went something like this:
Boys (in unison): “Mom, can I have more blueberry ice cream?”
Me: “It’s frozen yogurt.”
Boys (in unison): “No it isn’t. It’s blueberry ice cream. Can I please have some?”
Me: “Yes, you can have a lot. Because it is frozen yogurt.”
Boys (in unison wearing “I-Know-Better-You-Trickster-You” facial expressions): “OK, can I have another scoop of the blueberry (air quotes) frozen yogurt (more air quotes) right now?”
Husband (hesitating after the first bite with spoon suspended over bowl): “Are you sure this is low calorie? It feels fattening. It tastes like your regular desserts. Should I be eating this?”
Well, score one for me. I guess that maybe this old dog can learn a few new tricks. And I sheepishly admit that perhaps, maybe, I was ever-so-slightly, just-a-wee-bit wrong about healthy desserts. But I reserve my right to bust out a cheesecake, custard or poundcake smothered in buttercream every now and again. On that, I will not bend.
Blueberry Frozen Yogurt is as creamy as ice cream thanks to thick Greek yogurt, but if blueberries aren’t your thing, you can easily substitute with an equal amount of peaches, strawberries or raspberries. If you do, be sure to adjust the flavoring (vanilla, Crème de Cassis, Grand Marnier) to agree with whatever fruit you’ve used.
You have two options; you can strain the blended yogurt base to remove the blueberry seeds for a smooth and creamy frozen yogurt or you can go a little more rustic and leave them intact. Either way, it’s delicious. If you have a one-quart ice cream maker, you can easily halve this recipe.
For a printer-friendly, photo-free version of this recipe minus my tendency to blather, click here!
Blueberry Frozen Yogurt
- 3 cups Greek yogurt (whole or 2 percent)
- 1-½ cups sugar
- 6 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
- 1 Tablespoon Crème de Cassis, Grand Marnier or pure vanilla extract
Add yogurt, sugar and blueberries to your blender and blend until smooth. If you’re using frozen berries, it may take a little coaxing to get them all blended. If it doesn’t “want” to blend, shut off the blender and move the contents around a little with a wooden spoon or spatula. Remove the spoon, replace the lid and blend again.
If a smooth product is desired, pour and force the yogurt base through a stainless steel, fine mesh strainer. It will take a while, so be prepared! I like mine strained because I think frozen blueberry seeds are not so pleasant on the old teeth. If you like a more rustic yogurt with bits of blueberry and seeds throughout, skip the straining. Either way, you need to refrigerate the yogurt base for 2-4 hours prior to freezing.
When you remove the yogurt base from the refrigerator, run a whisk through the mixture quickly to make it easier to pour. (The yogurt base has a tendency to firm up in the refrigerator so that it’s almost a Jell-o like consistency. Running the whisk through it will loosen it up a bit.)
Pour the yogurt base into your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. (In my Cuisinart ice cream maker, it took 25 minutes and was ready to serve immediately.) Transfer to a freezer-safe container with a lid. This makes about two quarts.
If you have any yogurt left over, store it tightly packed in the freezer with a piece of plastic wrap laid directly on the surface of the frozen yogurt.
To serve as we did for The Evil Genius’s birthday, lay a warm crepe on a plate. Add a scoop of blueberry frozen yogurt to the bottom left corner of the crepe. Fold the right half of the crepe left over the scoop of yogurt. Fold the top quarter down over the scoop. Top with a sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar or a dollop of blueberry compote or blueberry sauce.
Of course, you can skip all that folderol and pile the scoops on top of a cone. One way or the other, you’re in for a deceptively healthy treat! Obviously Rowan didn’t mind missing out on the crepes…