Every year about this time my neighbor Pat comes by with a bag of fresh Bing cherries from her tree and a plea to come pick more before the birds get them. That’s the thing about cherry season, the trees seem to ripen all at once and for a week or two you have bucketloads. This spring the season is kind of funky. The cherries have come late, and with all the rain, they’re not lasting long. Last week I made cherry ice cream and this week cherry frozen yogurt. What I love about the frozen yogurt is that the yogurt is naturally tart. Bing cherries are sweet and they need something tart to intensify their flavor (which is why you typically use sour cherries for cherry pie). Also frozen yogurt is a lot easier to make than custard-based ice creams, but can still be quite creamy and smooth. This frozen yogurt will last several days in the freezer without getting too hard (which happens often with homemade ice creams).
A cherry pitter comes in handy when making dishes with fresh cherries. You can also use a paring knife to cut out the pit.
- 3 cups pitted fresh cherries
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3/4 cup sugar (more or less depending on how sweet the cherries and how sweet you want your frozen yogurt to be)
- 1/4 cup whole milk (can substitute half-and-half or cream for creamier version)
- 1 1/2 cups full fat yogurt (if you are using non or low-fat yogurt, add 2 Tbsp heavy cream)
- 2 Tbsp almond liqueuer such as Amaretto (optional)
1 Place the pitted cherries, lemon juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. While the mixture is heating, use a potato masher to mash up the berries in the pot which will release some of their moisture. When all of the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Place contents in a blender and pulse until smooth.
2 Mix cherry purée, milk, and yogurt together in a bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour; the longer the mixture chills the better (can chill overnight).
3 Right before processing in an ice cream maker, add the almond liqueur if using. The alcohol in the liqueur will help keep the frozen yogurt smooth, but it is not necessary. Process the mixture in your ice cream maker for 25 minutes.
You can eat it right away (it will be rather soft) or put it in the freezer for a few hours to harden up a bit.