Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dreaming of Frozen Yogurt

I'm on an ice cream making roll... well, not so much ice cream now, but frozen yogurt.  And maybe not a roll... maybe more like a.... umm... brioche? Can't think of baking now, I have frozen treats to tell you about!

First, some history-- last year, when I bought my Whynter Sno ice cream maker, I bought an ice cream recipe book.  Naturally, it was full of sugar, and almost every recipe called for creating a custard with the eggs and milk/cream. UGH.  So not me, ya know?

About the exact same time, a beloved friend came to visit, and brought an ice cream recipe book for me as a hostess gift! Coincidence? No such thing! The universe clearly wanted me to make ice cream! 

Now this book was no ordinary book.  Nay nay.  My friend lives in Ohio, and this book was from Jeni's Splendid Ice creams (book here, website for ice cream here).  Jeni's is currently only available in Ohio, 2 stores in Nashville, and if you are lucky enough to live in the US, there is overnight home delivery (swoon). 

I looked over the recipes, thought it was interesting that she didn't use eggs (my kinda ice cream), but still had lots of stuff I don't usually use: sugar, cornstarch, corn syrup.  Everything has a reason, mostly texture and mouth-feel.  But still, for the way I was eating at the time, too many carbs for sure.

This year, I decided to crack the books open again.  I'm focusing mostly on calories right now, so a bit higher carb count in a treat isn't going to rock my world.

And I remembered- Jeni's doesn't use eggs, and since I really am not a fan of the whole egg/milk tempering thing (soooo easy to make gross scrambled eggs), I got out my molecular gastronomy thinking cap, and am now working to convert her awesome recipes to lower calorie, lower sugar, but just as delicious versions.

That Said...

Here is the result of my first attempt.  Roasted Rhubarb Frozen Yogurt.

I'll admit, I think I could further adapt this recipe-- I could use guar/xanthan gums (maybe even konjac powder) in place of the corn starch.  I could also reduce calories further by tweaking the xylitol and isomalt ratios.  I'll keep working on that. 

But the current result is pretty good!

Note: this recipe involves advanced prep.  You'll want to make the roasted rhubarb and the drained yogurt the night before.

    Rhubarb compote:
1 lb. fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3c Splenda or granular sweetener of your choice (nutritional info will vary based on what you use)

Frozen yogurt Base:
1 quart (I used the 650ml container) plain fat-free yogurt (could use low-fat, will change your nutritional values of course)-- drained 6-8hrs or overnight. More below.
1.5 c. whole milk
2 T. cornstarch
2 oz. (4T) fat free cream cheese, softened (could use regular, will change your nutritional values of course)
1/2 c. heavy cream
2/3 c. xylitol
1/4 c. isomalt syrup, or light corn syrup (nutritional values are for isomalt, using corn syrup will change these of course)
Advanced preparations:
1) roast the rhubarb: set the oven to 300 degrees, combine rhubarb and sweetener in a 8x11 glass plate or ceramic baking dish, stir to mix well.  Bake for about 40-45 minutes, stirring every 15 min or so, until the rhubarb is soft and falling apart a bit, but still nice and pink.
You will use 3/4 c. for the recipe.  Let all of it cool, covered, in the fridge until ready to use.  Leftovers are great with strawberries, or as a sauce on other ice cream, etc.
2) Drain the yogurt:  OK, I think you could just use 1.25c of fat free Greek yogurt, and not do the whole draining thing.  But the original recipe called for draining regular yogurt, so this is how to do that:  line a sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth (or, frankly, paper towels) and fit over a bowl so that there's good space between the bottom of the sieve and the bottom of the bowl.  Pour in the yogurt (the whole container) and let it drain for 6-8 hrs, or over night, in the fridge (leaving it out won't do anything bad, but then you have a bit more of a "cheese" and that's not what we want here...).  Dump out the liquid- there will be a lot!

The start of draining the yogurt. There's a bit of liquid there at the bottom

You will have about 1.25 c. of thickened yogurt.  I used all of it in the recipe.  This is also really tasty for dips, but that's another post for another time...
3) Isomalt syrup:  if you don't want to use corn syrup (and I didn't), then make isomalt syrup.  Isomalt is a sugar substitute, used in sugar-free hard candies and other things all the time.  Lots of interesting properties, and it's a bit lower in calories than xylitol. 

To make a mock-light-corn syrup, simply heat 3 parts isomalt to 1 part water.  Just heat until everything is melted.
You can refrigerate whatever you don't use, but don't freak out, it will fully crystallize again in the fridge.  It will melt again when heated.  It's ok. I promise.  Use 1/4c of syrup for this recipe.
To make the frozen yogurt once the prep is done:
Measure out the 1.5 c. of whole milk.  In a small bowl, measure out about 3T of the milk, and the 2T of cornstarch, and mix into a slurry.  Set aside.
Mix the rest of the milk, and the cream, xylitol, and isomalt (or corn) syrup in a 4 quart pot.  This is critical, because this will bubble quite a bit and you don't want it boiling over.

The milk/cream/sweetener boiling. It puffed up even more when I stirred it.

Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and cook for 4 minutes.
Remove from heat, and whisk in the milk/cornstarch slurry.
Bring back to the heat, stirring, for 1 more minute.  It will be quite thick, like sweetened evaporated milk.

After adding the cornstarch/milk slurry and boiling for 1 minute more. Very thick.
Remove from heat.
In a big bowl, measure out the fat-free cream cheese, and whisk a bit to make sure it's soft. 
Slowly, in small additions, mix in the hot milk mixture and ensure it's all smooth, until it's all incorporated and smooth.
Next, add the 1.25 c. of drained yogurt and the 3/4 c. of cold roasted rhubarb.
Chill the bowl inside another bowl with ice and water, or cover and put in the fridge until cooled.  Ice water will work a bit faster, if that's what you want.

Cooled mixture ready to go into the ice cream maker
Once the mixture is cool, it will be VERY thick.  Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's direction, but keep an eye on it. 
Mine finished waaaay early, b/c the rhubarb froze and the whole thing got thick and hard to stir.

Transfer to a container for the freezer, and let it set up for a couple of hours at least.

Finished product. Tart and sweet and made with my very own rhubarb from the garden!
So there you have it.  The base is still a work in progress for me, but as it is, it's very, very good.  Not too hard, no eggs to deal with, scientifically sound (the reason you boil the milk with sweeteners it to evaporate some of the liquid, so your ice crystals will be fewer, and smaller. And you also create a sweetener syrup, which is better than dry crystals mingling about).  You could use this base for other things, instead of the full heavy cream/milk base. Tangier.
Excellent taste and texture (that scoop there in that picture? I ate that!).
Oh, and no math! Just chemistry ;-)
Nutrition info:
For the recipe, as posted (i.e if you make changes, you have to figure your own stuff out)
8 healthy servings (I bet you can get 10 smaller ones... but let's say 8):
215 calories
7g fat
31g carbs total (19g are fiber, incl some of the sweeteners. 12g net carbs, if you count that way)
3g protein
23% of your day's calcium
6% of vitamin A
6% of Ribovlavin (B2)

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