I decided to mix it up a little for this installment of Flavor of the Month. Instead of ice cream, I've made you an unbelievably delectable frozen treat: Matcha Frozen Yogurt. I know you're gonna love it!
Yogurt has always been one of my favorite foods. Why wouldn't it be? It's smooth, creamy, delicious and nutritious. Ever since I swirled my spoon into that first container of Dannon Strawberry Fruit on the Bottom yogurt as a kid in the 70's, I was hooked. Then, came Yoplait. You didn't even have to stir that kind! Plus, it sounded so French! I knew it had to be something special.
Of course, now that I'm older with a much more sophisticated palate, I've expanded my horizons on the yogurt front. I love to cruise down the dairy aisle at Whole Foods and try out all of the different brands. My absolute favorite is the Canadian company Liberté's Méditerranée Yogurt. It's a rich sundae-style (fruit on the bottom) yogurt that is quite simply the most delicious fruit yogurt I have ever eaten. It is difficult to find here in the States, and I usually have to special order it. Another yogurt that I really love is Fage Total Greek Yogurt, especially with some luscious orange blossom honey drizzled on top!
As much as I adore yogurt, one thing that I've never liked so much is frozen yogurt. Around the same time that Dannon and Yoplait were gaining popularity in the U.S., companies like TCBY started jumping on the bandwagon with their so called "frozen yogurt" products. The rationale behind it was that since yogurt was looked upon as a health food, frozen yogurt was a healthier alternative to other frozen desserts, namely ice cream. Good concept, but crappy tasting product - at least as far as I was concerned.
What I found most offensive is that no frozen yogurt I had ever tried tasted remotely like yogurt at all. Enter Pinkberry, Red Mango, Sunni Bunni and the like, which represent the new wave of gourmet frozen yogurt. These products carry a premium price tag, but the ones I've tried actually taste like yogurt. Really, really, really, good yogurt!
And guess what? You can make your own incredible frozen yogurt that tastes even better than those uber premium brands mentioned above. And, it is ridiculously simple to do!
The basis for this recipe came from my favorite ice cream guru, David Lebovitz. In his book, The Perfect Scoop, he shares several super easy recipes for homemade frozen yogurt that I have made almost weekly for the past year and a half. David makes his fro yo with nothing but yogurt, sugar and natural flavorings.
For my Matcha Frozen Yogurt, I've done the same, using thick, Greek-style yogurt, sugar and Japanese matcha, which is the finely ground powder of the highest-quality, most revered part of the shade-grown green tea plant. Traditionally used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony, matcha can also be found used as a flavoring in sweets, pastries, cakes, shakes, ice cream, and alcoholic beverages. It has a kind of faintly grassy taste that somehow marries well with sweets. When churned into frozen yogurt, it morphs into clouds of delightfully tangy, subtly earthy frozen perfection. Another bonus of matcha is that it's known for having phenomenal antioxidant properties as well as many other health benefits. It is also the loveliest shade of green you'll ever see!
Matcha Frozen Yogurt
4 cups Greek-style yogurt
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well blended. Refrigerate several hours until thoroughly chilled.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Store in the freezer until it reaches your desired firmness.
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.
Previous Flavor of the Month entries: