Friday, August 24, 2007

Happy birthday Roberta and Dad!

After they had dinner at Kitchen, around the corner from our house, Dad and Linda, Roberta and Eddy came over to our house for dessert. Today was Dad's birthday and Roberta's birthday was just a little over a week ago. I was very excited to make a birthday dessert for them.

Dad's tried just about all the ice creams I've made the past several months, and his favorite is one of the simplest to make: strawberry frozen yogurt. As I was dragging them away from dessert at a very nice restaurant, I decided to dress it up a bit with a tasty serving vessel: Lemon poppy-seed almond cookie cups. Plus I topped it all off with minced strawberries macerated with a little sugar and Grand Marnier. Most tasty!

One of the things we like so much about this strawberry frozen yogurt recipe is that it actually tastes more like a sorbet and less like a yogurt. It's got a lightness to it that you don't get with store-bought frozen yogurt, and we love it. It can be creamier, but still sorbet-like, if you use a Greek style yogurt. However, comparing the two, my dad and I prefer when I use a runnier-style yogurt (also known as "European Style," according to the labeling on some packages at the market). Today I used Pavel's Russian Yogurt in honor of one of the dessert guests, Eddy B. and his Russian heritage. Usually I use Strauss Family Creamery yogurt, but they don't carry it at Safeway and I didn't have time to shop elsewhere today.

The recipes are, of course, from my favorite food blogger and ice cream author, David Lebovitz and his book, The Perfect Scoop.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Both the cookie cups and the frozen yogurt are very easy to make and fast enough that I could make them while taking care of our baby. Not bad!

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
1 lb ripe fresh strawberries, hulled and rinsed
1 c full fat yogurt
2/3 c sugar
2 tsp kirsch (I use vanilla vodka or Grand Marnier)
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Slice the strawberries in to small pieces. Toss in a bowl with sugar and Grand Marnier, stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring every so often.

Puree the strawberries and their liquid with the yogurt and lemon juice in a blender or food processor (I use an immersion blender) until smooth. If you wish, press the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the seeds (I never do this).

Refrigerate for at least an hour and then freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

Ice cream cups

Lemon-Poppy Seed Cookie Cups
3 TB unsalted or salted butter
2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
7 TB sugar
3 TB flour
1/2 c sliced almonds
2 TB poppy seeds

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, sugar and flour. Mix in the almonds and poppy seeds and let the mixture rest for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat. Have ready 4 overturned teacups or custard cups.

Put 4 level tablespoons of batter, evenly space, on the baking sheet and use the back of the spoon to spread them into circles 2 inches across. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until they're deep golden brown. Let rest for 30 to 45 seconds, then lift each cookie off the baking sheet with a flexible metal spatula and flip it over onto an upended teacup.

Let the baking sheet cool, then repeat with the remaining batter.

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