Blueberry frozen yogurt (no ice cream maker required!)

Since returning from Croatia I’m in typical ‘back from holiday and trying to reverse the effects of too much indulgence’ mode. To be honest, the effects weren’t all that terrible given the unfortunate quality of food at our hotel, but we did eat out quite a bit, resulting in more beer drunk and more cakes consumed than in any normal week.

Trying to eat healthily presents a quandary for me. I have a baking blog. I don’t much believe in ‘healthy’ baking. Ergo, to keep up a rigorous – or at least not completely lazy – blogging schedule, I must cook unhealthy things and eat them.

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Or perhaps not! Racking my brain for a lighter treat that we could have on hand for dessert this week, I remembered this frozen yogurt recipe, which I had recently torn from a free supermarket magazine.

It’s what I would describe as an almost legitimately healthy treat. Who can find a bad word to say about plain yogurt and fruit? Sure, there’s a modest amount of sugar and a couple of eggs thrown in, but what does that matter considering the health-giving properties of the rest of the ingredients?

This fro-yo is moulded in a silicone loaf pan, which is super easy and appeals to my aesthetic sense because it’s just so darn pretty. It’s also made without an ice cream maker. In reality, any ice cream recipe can be made without one, though it is always second best. I am a firm believer in ice cream makers. I don’t think you can make a true shop-quality, crystal-free ice cream without one, even with all the vigorous stirring in the world. Unfortunately I don’t have one of these contraptions so I have to follow recipes like this one that don’t insist on it and put up with a few ice crystals – and there are some crystals in this finished product, so just be warned. It’s really not the end of the world.

While I quite enjoyed this recipe – it’s tangy and it’s made with thick, Greek yogurt, which gives it a nice mouth filling feel – I felt like the blueberries got somehow lost in the plain, yogurty custard. Were I to make it again (and I may) I’d try a generous amount of strawberry or raspberry puree stirred through.

But whichever way you dress this frozen yogurt up, it’s practically guilt-free.

Note: If you can’t find Greek yogurt, use regular plain yogurt and strain it through a paper towel or muslin lined sieve to get rid of the excess liquid before measuring out the quantity needed.

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

Makes 8 very generous slices

250 g (1 cup) blueberries
600 ml (scant 2 1/2 cups) Greek-style yogurt
125 g (1/2 cup) sugar
1 egg
2 egg yolks
zest and juice of one lemon

Place the blueberries in a small saucepan with 25 g (1 heaped Tbsp) of the sugar and 2 Tbsp of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to cool while you make the custard.

Whisk together the whole egg, egg yolks, remaining sugar, lemon zest and 150 ml (heaped 1/2 cup) of the yogurt. Place in a medium saucepan over gentle heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes while whisking continuously, so as not to cook the egg and split the custard. The mixture is ready to remove from the heat when it has thickened – you will know when it has reached this point!

Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the remaining yogurt and the lemon juice. Add the blueberries to the yogurt mixture and give it one large stir. Pour the mixture into a regular-sized silicone loaf pan (you can also use a metal loaf pan but the inside should be lined with cling wrap).

Cover and freeze until firm (at least four hours). To unmould, if you have used a silicone tin it should peel away easily: start by pulling one corner of the tin down and away from the loaf, then peel the whole thing off while inverting the loaf onto a plate. If you have used a regular tin lined with cling wrap, simply lift the loaf out of the tin and unwrap onto a plate.

The frozen yogurt is best left for 20 to 30 minutes to soften before cutting into slices.