This may be an ironic post. I am writing about a cold, frozen bite while freezing myself in a unheated apartment in Italy caught in a mid-Autumn freezing spell while the country's law stubbornly refuses heat until the 15th of the month! But, there it is; the true humor in life... :)
The real reason I bring this frozen yogurt to you is that for the rest of the civilised world, this may be the last few days when indulging in an ice cream is a want rather than a luxury of well-heated hearths and devil-may-care attitudes. That is to say, New York is still showing a healthy 20s temperature, the perfect craving time for a good ol' churn.
It is made with sugar plums, a variety of intense redness with a sweet and slightly sour flavor. They are perfect in this frozen yogurt because their slight acidity works well with that of the yogurt and the sweetness contrasts it.
In class the other day, we discussed "Flavor" as an objective tool and how to measure it as a function of certain parameters. Our professor, Peter Klosse, a restauranteur and academician, argued that if you can seperate Flavor the object from Flavor the experience then we can create a language of understanding that can unite and bring together people! What a wonderfully fascinating idea??!! I was really taken by that concept of using science to find a way to connect and hope to explore it more...
Anyway, ice cream was one of the examples that we choose to look into. The elements of the ice cream that make it so flavorful are the fat, the cold and the intensity of flavors in them. The parameters that it translates to are things that coat your palate and things that cut through the coating.
Let me describe this offering I have for you from that objective perspective. The richness of the plum reduction and the sugars that caramelize into it during the process and the fat in the full fat yogurt and ricotta offer the "Coating" phenomenon. The sourness of the fruit, acidity of the yogurt and coldness of the churned product provide the contrast "Contracting" phenomenon. The amount of plum reduction you use will define the "Flavor Richness" of the ice cream. Capish?;-)
Now you can use the same, potentially reductive science to identify what beverage(s) would pair well with this frozen dessert.
Can you guess?
ROAST SUGAR PLUM + RICOTTA FROZEN YOGURT
Full disclosure, I made this frozen yogurt before I packed up for Europe. So, it may not be in season now. But, a great substitute for it right now are Prunes. In Reggio Emilia, this is a favorite fruit, much savored for its sweet-tart balance that makes it an interesting subject for desserts!
Pairs really well with pound cake!
1 cup full fat greek yogurt(fattier the better. Use the cream on top as well!)
1 cup whole fat ricotta
6 T sugar plum or prune compote (recipe below)
1/2 cup honey (if your yogurt is more acidic or savory, increase the sugar else the ice cream will seperate)
In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, ricotta and honey until it make a smooth sweet blend.
Add this mixture to the ice cream maker and set it churn for 10 minutes.
While the machine continues to churn, pour or add in the plum/prune compote.
Let the machine churn for another 10 minutes. You can serve it as a soft serve at this point, which is best, or, transfer to a freeze safe container.
If removing from freezer, let it thaw for a few minutes before scooping.
ROAST SUGAR PLUM COMPOTE
This compote is fantastic in making the ice cream of course, but also as a spread for toast or topping for other ice cream or as filling for cakes and such! Make a big batch if you can and refrigerate for the cold cold months, when you crave the flavors of warmer months!
15 ripe sugar plums (red), unpitted
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 400F.
Spread the plums in one layer in a baking dish just large enough to hold them snugly. Drizzle the honey all over evenly.
Roast in the oven for 40 minutes until the fruit juices bubble and caramelize.
Bring to room temperature and then refrigerate in an airtight container.