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June 26, 2008

Frosty Relief for a Hot Summer's Day


You know what's really fun on a hot, sweltering, summer's day? Licking a blissfully chilly popsicle down to the smooth wooden stick, racing to finish it before it all melts down your chin.

You know what's really not fun on a hot, blistering, summer's day? Trying to take photos of these popsicles before they melt all over your kitchen table and you have none left to eat!

I made these little pops in the middle of a heat wave last week; they were a no-brainer given that blazing sun coming into apartment + no air conditioning meant turning on the oven = not happening. However, I didn't foresee that I would be attempting to document these ephemeral little dainties on the hottest day of the heat wave. So, unless you are a professional photographer with a climate controlled studio and a food stylist at your side with several dozen popsicles waiting as backup in the freezer, what this means is planning out your shots very carefully in advance, taking out the popsicles at the very last moment, and then snapping away like mad before returning the rapidly defrosting pops to the freezer to recover.

As it was, I just managed to get two different setups, so there's a dearth of images in this entry, but I hope they're enough to convey the sheer delight a frozen popsicle can bring. Have you ever held a popsicle just a hairsbreadth away from your cheek, so you can feel the tendrils of coldness uncurling towards your face? Or unwrapped a popsicle, covered in a dusting of frost, and worked to lick all around the popsicle until its true, vibrant color was revealed entirely? Or saved a red-stained popsicle stick after you had finished off the pop because even though you couldn't eat it, the stick is still an essential part of the popsicle, and it reminded you of how delicious it was?

I decided to make some frozen yogurt popsicles, as I've noticed the frozen yogurt trend has gone from latest new sensation in San Francisco to a full-blown craze. There seems to be a frozen yogurt shop opening on every other block, all of them with some sort of variant of "Yogurt" or "Berry" in their name, and all of them offering tart, creamy goodness in a cup.

I confess when I first heard of the Pinkberry sensation I didn't quite get what was going on. After all, I'd already been through the last frozen yogurt wave in college, when the dinner of choice for dieting co-eds was a 12 ounce of froyo from the shop across the street from the dorms. Back then, frozen yogurt either tasted remarkably the same as ice cream, meaning it didn't contain much yogurt, or it tasted like artificially flavored whipped air - suffice to say not my dessert of choice.

However, it seems like now yogurt actually tasting like yogurt is no longer a liability, and people are flocking to the tart, "yogurty" taste as a healthier, lighter alternative to ice cream. Many of the most well-known frozen yogurt franchises, like Pinkberry and Red Mango, originated in Korea, which is not surprising as tarter, less sweetened versions of yogurt have long been much more popular in Asia than in the US. Also, the favored toppings of fruit and mochi dovetails with classic Asian preferences for fresh, clean, not-too-sweet desserts.

The best part about frozen yogurt to me, though, is how simple it is to make at home. It's even simpler than ice cream, since there's no need to muck about with making an anglaise base or anything like that. Simply take some yogurt, combine with some sugar, chill, and whirl away in the ice cream maker! Much of frozen yogurt's appeal is in its straightforward tang; you want to taste the tartness, not mask it. However, you can add more sugar to taste if you want a sweeter, less assertive flavor. I also added lemon juice to my mixture since the citric flavor of lemon meshes well with the yogurt and makes it even more refreshing; it tastes almost like a lemon sherbet, one of my favorite flavors. Also, since you can't have frozen yogurt without toppings, I tossed in some raspberries, which made them both colorful and even more delicious.

If you have those miniature Dixie cups, they are the perfect size for making little popsicles. Just pour in the churned base, insert some wooden sticks, chill in the freezer, and the next day you'll be able to peel off the paper and enjoy - hopefully under a warm summer sun.


Lemon Frozen Yogurt with Raspberries

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts, or about 12 regular popsicles

To get the truest yogurt flavor, use plain yogurt, not vanilla-flavored or any other flavor, and with as little sugar added as possible. Regular yogurt contains quite a bit of water, so if you use it straight the frozen yogurt can become hard and icy. To prevent this, regular yogurt should be strained. You can place the yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined strainer or colander and place over a bowl. Fold the cheesecloth around the yogurt and place the whole setup into the refrigerator overnight to let the yogurt drain. You will need more than 3 cups of regular yogurt to yield 3 cups after it's been strained. Or, you can use Greek yogurt, which has already been strained and is thick and creamy. The more fat the yogurt contains, the richer the frozen result will be, naturally, but the 2% yogurt I used yielded quite excellent results and it's not necessary to use full-fat yogurt (not to mention it might negate its touted healthfulness!)

3 cups plain strained regular yogurt, or Greek yogurt

1 to 1 1 /2 cups sugar (to taste)

1 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir together until the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate the mixture for a couple of hours until it is thoroughly chilled.

Freeze in an ice cream maker per manufacturer's instructions.

When it has reached the consistency of soft serve, you can either scrape into a container and freeze overnight, or divide among popsicle molds and then freeze overnight. You can swirl the raspberries into the mixture before you freeze the yogurt. If you are making popsicles, you may want to cut the raspberries into pieces so you don't have large frozen berries in the pops.


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Delicious! I wish I'd had one of those yesterday, when I felt like I was melting away in the heat here in Munich, but of course I didn't. Blasted student housing and their shared freezers...

these look perfect for the heat of summer. glad you were able to capture them before they melted.

although your pictures look effortlessly beautiful, I can only imagine what you went through.

The end result is beyond gorgeous!

xx fanny

Frozen yogurt as a craze.. hasn't really reached our shores yet, but I don't think I would mind if it did! Those look so refreshing. I love anything yogurty, and lemon yogurt? Even better! I'm bookmarking this for when Summer finally hits and I'm in need of some frozen treats. :)

oh i want these so bad!! They look so refreshing and I bet the raspberries add a juicy accent to the yogurt!! I so need an ice cream machine...Beautiful photos too, they really convey the beautiful summer you guys are having over there! I'm so envious!

Delicious! I could do with some of those here (it is hot like hell)!



i need one now!

oooh yum! I just bought some popsicle molds so I could start churning out treats like these! They are beautiful!

that look just awesome. my son and i are all over making those....and i always wondered why our frozen yogurt smoothies were icy...thanks for that info!

These look fantastic. Raspberries are just coming into season here in the UK so will have to try these!

These look so refreshing and quite adorable! I definitely hear your pain about taking the photos though! Also, I have to confess that I am a pinkberry sad, but so true!

I like the fact that you strained the yogurt. I think these would be great in a Chilled smoothy as well.

These look great - I have recently fallen in love with Greek yogurt and was looking for other ways to enjoy it. This is a must try..
If you have any other killer recipes that have Greek yogurt please pass it along.... :)


These do sound very refreshing and they look wonderful, too. I really need to get a hold of some popsicle molds

My 14 year old sister is gonna love these, Anita!

Those are so dainty and beautiful!! I totally understand your frustration with shooting frozen desserts in the heat of the day - it is difficult to do :( But I swear your shots look completely perfect. What a terrific combination of flavors for summer too :)

One day, when I have kids, I dream of having a huge freezer so that we are able to make beauties like these together. They are perfect!

I don't have an ice cream maker, sigh...

Oh yum! I can't wait to make these! They look so refreshing...and of course they are adorable!!

Yum! I have thought about making pops this week since it will be so hot.
Yours turned out beautiful.

That looks so good! Love the raspberries.

I'm just addicted to plain froyo. Did I tell you I made some earlier too? The recipe I used is almost identical to yours, but I used 0% Greek yogurt and only 2/3 cups sugar, and had the raspberries on the side. It's light, refreshing and yummy!

Oh, and does "the shop across the street from the dorms" happen to be Yo Park and did you live in Unit 3? Hee, that really sounds like my experience back in college. :P

I've been making variations of this for the past couple weeks and I absolutely love it!
Well done on taking pics in the heat, they're gorgeous!

Can I use soy yogurt?? I can't eat dairy.

Yeap...saving the ice cream part of you know what project for winter :)
Finally I get to see the pops you have been tempting me with! Gorgeous!

The pictures look amazing, despite the frustration!

I love the taste of yogurt over heavy ice cream - always have. There's so much less frozen yogurt option at the grocery store though...this might be my new solution! Now I just have to convince my boyfriend we need an ice cream maker...

What a coincidence! I've been making my own frozen yogurt ever since I discovered Pinkberry-style yogurt last year. I actually like the consistency of non-strained yogurt-- I like that it's not so heavy.

Since I don't like little bits of zest in my frozen yogurt, I substitute the zest with a teaspoon of lemon oil. It gives it that really bright flavor without the bits.

wow i'm craving this right now. i love anything lemon and i think marrying it with raspberry is only going to bring it up a notch!

This makes me want to buy an ice cream machine right away! You frozen yogurt really looks great.

hi there! i tried this recipe and blogged about it. i hope it is okay to reprint. i credited you and linked back to you as well!

Your making my mouth water!

Was looking for summer inspiration on your site and have found it! I have been yearning for an icecream maker for 3+ yrs and now I have true impetus to aggressively search for this new addition to my kitchen (and make appropriate use of that $2 IKEA popsicle mold). Thank you for your fresh take on summer refreshment! Perfect for Georgia heat.

Wonderful job on your pops. Working as quickly as you did, you still got fantastic pictures. Bravo!

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