Meyer Lemon Frozen Yogurt
Life is like an ice-cream cone, you have to lick it one day at a time. ~ Charles M. Schulz
Ice cream, gelato, and frozen yogurt make frequent appearances in our home during the spring and summer months. A freshly churned frozen dessert is refreshing to savor on a hot and humid day. When your life seems to be a bit crazy, take the advice of the Peanuts’ creator, Charles M. Shulz, and think of life simply as an ice cream cone. It will make everything seem far less daunting.
Some methods for making frozen concoctions yield better results than others and I must admit that I do prefer a good custard-based ice cream to most other recipes I have tried. For an exceptionally smooth and creamy texture, however, I may have found another option to that eggy custard base.
Jeni, of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, has a preferred method for preparing many of her artisan ice creams which combines corn syrup, cornstarch, and cream cheese with the dairy products. She believes that corn syrup makes the ice cream less sweet, cornstarch is critical to avoiding ice crystals, and that cream cheese helps to bind the ingredients and gives the ice cream “body.” In this particular recipe, the yogurt drained for about eight hours to reduce the amount of liquid and thus, the potential for an icy frozen dessert.
While this was certainly a different list of ingredients than my usual ice cream or frozen yogurt recipe, it did yield a very smooth, creamy, and tangy result. It has remained in the freezer for over a week with no ice crystals forming and the texture and taste has not changed, so I may be a Jeni’s method convert.
I love the flavor of the Meyer Lemons in this frozen yogurt since they are not quite as tart as a regular lemon. In fact, these particular Meyer Lemons were closer to an orange in taste and the juice almost sweet enough to drink by itself. There is a subtle taste of cream cheese from the two ounces that are used in the recipe. It’s not overwhelming, but you know it’s there, particularly if you made the dessert. Someone else unfamiliar with the recipe would notice a difference; however, they would probably have a hard time identifying it as cream cheese since it is such an unexpected ingredient.
A bowl of Meyer Lemon Frozen Yogurt is the perfect way to end a warm summer’s evening and dinner outdoors with it’s refreshing, bright flavor and ever so slight bit of tartness. It cleanses the palate. I would definitely add the optional blueberry swirl next time as it would add interest, contrast, and another dimension of flavor to the yogurt.
Take time to sit on your back porch this weekend and enjoy a bowl of homemade ice cream or frozen yogurt. Ice cream makes everything better. 🙂
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Meyer Lemon Frozen Yogurt
You can use either regular lemons or Meyer Lemons for this recipe. I would suggest making the Blueberry Sauce and alternating it with the lemon frozen yogurt. It would make a really nice addition and add a bit of sweetness to the dessert.
Frozen yogurt base:
1 quart plain low-fat yogurt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
Zest from 1 lemon (reserved from below)
2 to 3 lemons (I used Meyer Lemons)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
Advanced Prep For the frozen yogurt base:
Fit a sieve over a bowl and line it with two layers of cheesecloth. Pour the yogurt into the sieve, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours to drain. Discard the liquid, and measure out 1 1/4 cups of the drained yogurt; set aside.
For the lemon syrup:
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest in large strips from 1 lemon; reserve for the frozen yogurt (leave the lemon zest in large strips so it's easier to strain out later). Juice enough of the lemons to make 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 the heat and let cool.
For the frozen yogurt base:
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
Whisk the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and lemon zest in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the reserved 1 1/4 cups yogurt and the lemon syrup and whisk until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes. (* I put the mixture in a medium bowl, covered it, and immersed the smaller bowl into a larger bowl with an ice bath. I let it sit for several hours in the refrigerator, until it was very cold and then placed it in the ice cream maker.)
Remove the zest from the frozen yogurt base. Pour into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.
Pack the frozen yogurt into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
Variation: Lemon & Blueberry Frozen Yogurt
Make Blueberry Sauce (see below) and chill completely. Make the Lemon Frozen Yogurt as directed. As you pack the frozen yogurt into the storage container, alternate it with layers of Blueberry Sauce. End with a spoonful of sauce; do not mix. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
Mix the blueberries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries are tender and the sauce is thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool, then refrigerate until cold before using.
Recipe excerpted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Jeni Britton Bauer
This recipe would be a total dream for my boy! He LOVES anything frozen and lemon!
ok….I’m telling Sooze
I love lemon sorbet and even lemon ice cream but this one I have my doubts. I never cook with corn syrup. As you say, I might change my mind if I tasted this; it looks stunning! I also tend to avoid cream cheese in desserts as I don’t much like the tangy flavor. Gee whiz, Gwen, I sound awfully nasty and critical but I remember your other recipe and if given the choice… but this does look scrumptious and I certainly would not turn down a large bowl. I may actually have to try some of the recipes from this book.
I thought the same thing after I brought this book home and saw that many of her recipes use corn syrup. Since Jeni sells commercially, I can understand the need to retain the consistency and have the wonderful texture that this frozen yogurt has. When I make frozen desserts, for the most part, they are good for a few days and then begin to lose the original taste and texture and I can’t use them. This one was completely different.
I am not a fan of corn syrup and don’t advocate its use, but I do use it once a year in a pecan pie around the holidays. I would also say that if I wanted a particular flavor from Jeni’s cookbook, I would use it again since this did create a really superb consistency.
I think the tangy flavor from this dessert was in the yogurt base. It was regular low-fat yogurt which I find more tart than Greek yogurt. I did not get the “tang” from the cream cheese. I used the Whole Foods brand (which she recommends and I just happened to buy for the recipe). I think I noticed the flavor of it more because I knew it was there since it was such a minimal amount.
I think it’s always good to try new ways of making things, even if it might not be my usual or preferred way. I can also understand Jeni’s interest in creating a unique way to may a creamy, stable, and luscious ice cream in a commercial situation. It worked for me on the first attempt. If I hadn’t bought the cookbook and had her ice cream at her shop, I would never have had a clue how it was made, as is the case with many places.
BTW, I had to borrow corn syrup from my neighbor. 🙂
This sounds delicious. I’ve used Jeni’s method to make many ice creams (olive oil, ginger-brown sugar, maple-bacon–to name a few), but not frozen yogurt. I really like the technique a lot. Unlike with a custard-style recipe, I like that you don’t have to cook it to a specific temperature; it seems more forgiving that way. You just have to make sure it doesn’t boil over while cooking it for 4 minutes (speaking from experience, unfortunately). I had a similar concern about the “tang” of cream cheese being potentially off-putting, but I haven’t experienced it. When I made a mint-chocolate chip ice cream, because I thought the cream cheese flavor could be more obvious I used mascarpone instead, which also worked well in this recipe.