A couple weeks back, I mentioned how I got to try Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream for the first time ever. And while the famous salted caramel was lip-smackingly good (intensely salty AND sweet), I couldn’t stop thinking about the lemon and blueberry fro-yo, particularly because of the lemon frozen yogurt base. It was tangy and delicate, falling just short of palate-cleansing because it was still quite creamy.
So even though it’s not really frozen desserts weather anymore (oh hell, who am I kidding? I could eat frozen desserts any time of the year (although I think that claim’s actually going to be tested this winter (and are parentheses within parentheses within parentheses grammatically incorrect?))), I couldn’t wait until next year to try out this recipe.
Like Molly said, the recipe’s a bit fussy. It requires very exact timing and the use of many many bowls. And I didn’t even make the blueberry swirl because I wanted the unadulterated taste of lemon. But I didn’t mind it—following directions gets to be kind of meditative after awhile. Just know that you’ve been warned, if you decide to go through with it.
If you follow the directions precisely—ROOM TEMPERATURE cream cheese! I can’t stress that enough—you will most certainly end up with a lovely quart of fro-yo in the lightest shade of yellow. It doesn’t turn icy even after it’s been in the freezer for a few days, it doesn’t melt too fast (or too slow for that matter). It really is the perfect way to savor Jeni’s at home.
Recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home via Orangette
Yields over a quart
For the lemon syrup:
2 to 4 lemons
3 Tbsp sugar
For the frozen yogurt base:
1 quart plain low-fat yogurt
1-1/2 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp corn starch
2 oz. (4 Tbsp) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
Zest from one lemon, reserved from lemon syrup
One day in advance, Put a mesh sieve lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth over a bowl and pour the plain yogurt into the sieve. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours (I kept it in the fridge for over 24 hours and it turned out fine).
For the lemon syrup, first use a vegetable peeler to peel the zest off one lemon in long strips. Reserve for the frozen yogurt base. Then juice enough of the lemons to yield 1/2 cup. Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
For the frozen yogurt:
Remove the plain yogurt from the fridge and measure out 1-1/4 cups worth. Set aside.
Combine 2 Tbsp of the milk in a small bowl with the corn starch.
In a bowl (that will eventually need to fit the entire fro-yo base), whisk the cream cheese until smooth (very smooth! The cream cheese should definitely be at room temperature or it will whisk into clumps).
Combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup, and strips of lemon in a large pot (Jeni specifies a pot with 4-quart capacity, but I really don’t think it’s necessary for this particular recipe. A large-ish pot will do). Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and boil for exactly 4 minutes. Towards the end of the 4 minutes, whisk the corn starch and milk until it’s a smooth slurry. Remove the pot from the heat and slowly whisk in the corn starch mixture. Return the pot to the heat, and continue to cook, stirring consistently, for 1 more minute, until the liquid starts to thicken. Remove from heat, and gradually whisk the milk mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese until smooth. Add the reserved 1-1/4 cup plain yogurt and the lemon syrup. Whisk until smooth.
Let cool, then refrigerate the mixture for about 6 hours. Remove from fridge, pick out the strips of lemon (you could pour the mix through a sieve, but it’s quite thick and unmanageable at this point). Pour the mixture into the canister of an ice cream machine, and spin until thick and creamy.
Once done churning, pour the fro-yo in a container and refrigerate it until firm.