August 11, 2010

Peach Frozen Yogurt

 Pears made their first appearance at the Farmers Market this weekend, and that means that soon I will be able to try David Lebovitz's Caramelized Pear Ice Cream that I have had bookmarked for months.  I bought six pears and set them in a row on a shelf to ripen.  They should be ripe in just a few more days.  But I am already thinking about ice cream.  And 3 or 4 days seems like a long time to have to wait. The ice cream freezer insert is sitting impatiently in the freezing compartment.  What am I to do?

My mother stopped by last night with seven perfectly ripe peaches, so I'll settle for a quart of Peach Frozen Yogurt in the meantime.  Do you cook like me?  I tend to choose two or three recipes in advance that I am totally excited about.  When I do my weekly shopping they are in the forefront of my mind--I've got to get pears and cream for that ice cream!-- and then I come home from shopping and struggle to figure out what else to cook during the week.  I'm psyched up to put a significant amount of effort into that Pear Ice Cream, but today is not the day for Pear Ice Cream or significant effort.  I just want a simple dessert to tide me over using what I have on-hand.  I don't even want to open a cookbook.

So here is a simple Peach Frozen Yogurt, based on my go-to frozen yogurt recipe:  One and half cups fruit with one and a half cups yogurt, sweetened with about half as much sugar (by volume). This is not the creamiest frozen desert ever.  If you don't eat all of it right away, it will become a little icy stored in the freezer. Plan to remove it from the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator or on the counter for about a half an hour before serving to improve the texture.  It is also not the quickest frozen dessert.  (Try Watermelon Sorbet.)  But when made with delicious summer peaches and good quality yogurt, it makes a mini-celebration of summer.

Full disclosure:  The refrigerator at my office is one of those compact ones with the rather pointless mini freezing compartment inside of the fridge, that is not cold enough to keep anything frozen.  I like to fill a one-cup-Gladware with hard-frozen frozen yogurt and store it in the freezing compartment until after lunch, when it has semi-melted to the perfect soft-frozen consistency.  A real afternoon treat!

Peach Frozen Yogurt
Makes 1 quart.  For tips on customizing your frozen yogurt experience, check here.

1 1/2 cups peaches, mashed, about 3 medium-large peaches
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
approx 3/4 cup sugar  (I used 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar.)
Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or cardamom or maybe a 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger

In small saucepan, combine peaches and sugar. Cook over medium heat about 5-10 minutes to dissolve sugar and thoroughly soften peaches.  Add optional seasoning, if using. Taste, and add more sugar, if desired. You want it fairly sweet to compensate for the tartness of the yogurt that will be added.

Chill peach mixture in refrigerator.  (You could also chill it in an ice bath by pouring the mixture into a medium bowl set inside of a large bowl filled with ice.  Stir the mixture until it cools.  I'd rather pour the peach mixture back into the glass measuring cup I used to measure the peaches and put it in the fridge for an hour.)

In blender, combine chilled peach mixture with yogurt.  Blend approximately 10 seconds, until mixture is smooth.  Pour into ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

For soft serve consistency, serve immediately.  For firmer consistency, transfer to 1 quart container and freeze approximately 2 hours. Store leftovers in freezer up to 4 days, but allow to thaw slightly before serving.

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