Sweet roasted cherries are a perfect match for the tartness of frozen yogurt. In case I’ve given you two minutes of ice-cream-free time to wonder about it, I’m still having way too much fun with my fancy ice cream maker. I’ve spent the summer playing with countless varieties of frozen desserts, custards, creams, gelatos and yogurts. I’ve been asked many times for frozen yogurt recipes. So, I’ve been working on a few different frozen yogurt recipes this past month.
Along with today’s recipe, I’m including a couple of tips for frozen yogurt making. A basic rule of thumb for a standard frozen yogurt is 3 cups yogurt to 1 cup of sugar. I’ve tried several versions using less sugar and I’ll be honest here, it just is not the same. Yogurt is so tart; the sugar balances that and the sugar also helps create a great texture. The results with less sugar and versions using honey or maple syrup instead of white sugar simply were not the same. The sugar-free options were delicious, straight out of the machine, but after a night in the freezer, the texture was much more crumbly and not nearly as smooth or creamy.
Feel free to substitute honey in this recipe, but be aware that the yogurt will be more icy and will be best eaten immediately after freezing. Substitute honey to TASTE, add about 1/3 cup honey to the yogurt and taste it. Keep tasting it as you add more if desired, to make it as sweet or tart as you like. If you choose to freeze the honey-sweetened version, you’ll need to let it rest on the counter for a while prior to scooping. In case you are wondering, this is an untouched photo. The yogurt turned a gorgeous deep pink color as soon as I added the cherries.
- 2 1/2 cups fresh cherries pitted and halved
- 2 cups plain full fat yogurt (Greek yogurt works as well)
- 1 cup sugar divided
- 1 vanilla bean scraped and seeded or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment and place the pitted and halved cherries on the parchment. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until the cherries begin to shrink and release their liquid to cover the bottom of the dish. Carefully lift the parchment and transfer the roasted cherries and their juices to a glass mixing bowl. Stir 1/3 cup of sugar into the cherry mixture and mash gently to release more juices. (The original 2 1/2 cups cherries will reduce down to about 1 1/2 cups.) Set in refrigerator or freezer to cool for a couple hours.
- Whisk together the yogurt, remaining 2/3 cup of sugar, vanilla and salt. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. When the mixture is almost frozen, pour 1 cup of the cherry mixture into the churning yogurt. When the yogurt has finished churning, transfer to a freezer safe container and stir in the remaining roasted cherries. Serve immediately for soft-serve yogurt or freeze for a firmer more scoop-able yogurt. Enjoy!