Almost every shop that sells frozen yogurt is now offering “tart” yogurt, which is little more than yogurt-flavored yogurt, complete with the tang of the real thing. I like it, but not as much as I like regular yogurt or my homemade frozen yogurt, which uses a base of tangy Greek-style yogurt that is lightened with beaten egg whites. The tartness of the commercial frozen yogurt can be quite strong, and while this isn’t a bad thing in the plain yogurt variety, it’s not always a big plus for the fruit-flavored “tart” yogurts.
When it comes to these, although flavors like mango, blueberry and strawberry sound promising, the aforementioned tartness can overwhelm the flavor of the fruit. I like it when the sweetness of fresh fruit is showcased by the yogurt, not overshadowed by it. In this homemade variety, strawberries are definitely the star in the flavor department – even though a tangy yogurt is the base.
I used my usual frozen yogurt base and added lots of fresh strawberries to it, omitting vanilla and other flavorings that might mask the berries. My berries happened to be very, very sweet, but if yours aren’t quite sweet enough, you can always add a bit of extra sugar to the recipe. The only caveat to using fresh berries is that your yogurt (or ice cream, gelato, etc.) can develop large ice crystals after it has been stored for a while, since fresh fruit has a high water content. One trick that I used to make sure the yogurt stayed creamy was to add a little vodka to the mixture. This isn’t necessary and can be omitted if you prefer, but since alcohol has a lower freezing point than water, a little bit in a mixture can really help discourage the formation of large ice crystals. You can’t taste it in the finished product unless you want to try and punch up the strawberry flavor with some berry-infused vodka.
Even with the vodka, the yogurt did need to thaw a bit before it was soft enough to scoop again after a couple of days in the freezer. I like this best fresh from the ice cream maker, but a 15 minute wait for the yogurt to thaw still takes less time than a trip to the nearest frozen yogurt shop.
Fresh Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
1 1/3 cups fresh strawberries
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp vodka (optional)
2 1/2 cups Greek-style yogurt (approx 500g)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 large egg whites, room temperature
Clean berries and trim off tops. In the bowl of a food processor, puree strawberries, sugar and vodka (optional) until mixture is very smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk berry mixture into greek yogurt (you may strain plain yogurt for about 5 minutes with a fine sieve or cheesecloth if you cannot find greek yogurt in your area to achieve a similar consistency).
In a medium bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until eggs reach soft peaks. Fold into strawberry yogurt mixture. Pour everything into an ice cream maker and mix according to manufacturers’ directions. When yogurt has set up, you can serve it immediately or store it in a freezer-safe container, if you are not going to eat it right away.
Note: You could try this with frozen, defrosted berries, but it really will be best with freshly picked strawberries. You can also use any variety of Greek yogurt you like: full fat, low fat or nonfat.