A Slice of Cool

If this doesn't help beat the heat, nothing will.
If this doesn’t help beat the heat, nothing will.

The heat is on.

Is it ever.

I may not have the ability to turn the master switch to “off” to quash this heatwave. But I can definitely cool things down deliciously with “Frozen Yoghurt-Honey Parfait with Flash-Roasted Blueberries.”

Creamy, tangy, and — yes — frosty, it’s like ice cream without the need for an ice cream maker.

The recipe is from the new cookbook, “Fruitful” (Kyle Books), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Sarah Johnson, an American-born pastry chef who trained at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, and now splits her time at two United Kingdom restaurants, Spring and Heckfield Place. Hence, the UK spelling of “yoghurt” in this recipe before you think that a typo.

It’s a collection of both sweet and savory recipes that highlight all manner of fruit, from “Lemony Chicken Piccata,” “Strawberries with Warm Spelt Madeleines,” and “Apricot and Muscat Tart” to “Salad of Nectarines, Green Beans, Almonds, and Feta,” “Fig, Fennel Seed and Walnut Bread,” and “Almond Cake with Greengages and Fennel Cream.”

The yogurt parfait after freezing overnight.
The yogurt parfait after freezing overnight.

For this parfait, you essentially make a Swiss meringue, slowly heating egg whites and sugar in a double boiler before beating in a stand mixer until the mixture thickens into stiff, glossy peaks.

Then, little by little, fold the egg whites into yogurt that’s been mixed with a little honey. Finally, fold in heavy cream that’s been whipped to soft peaks. The recipe didn’t specify what type of yogurt to use, only that it be “thick,” so I went with full-fat Greek yogurt, which worked well, so I added that to the recipe copied below.

I found the instructions for preparing the 1-pound loaf pan (8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inches) a little fiddly. Just know that after oiling the pan, you essentially want to line it with two sheets of parchment so that you will have enough overhang to grasp as handles to help you unmold the dessert after it’s frozen.

It unmolds easily if you follow the directions for briefly dipping the loaf pan into a larger pan filled with a little warm water.
It unmolds easily if you follow the directions for briefly dipping the loaf pan into a larger pan filled with a little warm water.

When you pour the mixture into the prepared pan, it will come up to the very top of it. The recipe instructs to fold the parchment overhang over the top of the yogurt parfait. I did that, plus added plastic wrap around it before placing in the freezer overnight.

To unmold, dip the bottom of the pan into warm water, which will loosen the parfait enough to invert easily onto a serving platter.

The roasted blueberries.
The roasted blueberries.

Johnson serves slices with a drizzle of honey, along with blueberries that get roasted quickly in a very hot oven with lemon zest, lemon juice, and a little sugar syrup. I didn’t find that it resulted in much syrup, but the blueberries do take on a more concentrated flavor while maintaining their shape.

Of course, turning up the oven to 425°F might be the last thing you want to do right now. If so, just macerate the blueberries instead by tossing with some granulated sugar, lemon zest, and a squirt of lemon juice. Allow the mixture to sit for at least half an hour at room temperature or even a day in the fridge before using.

Don't you feel a little cooler just looking at this?
Don’t you feel a little cooler just looking at this?

Either way, what you’ll end up with is very much like your classic breakfast of yogurt with blueberries turned a bit fancy into a dreamy dessert that’s less airy than ice cream yet thoroughly refreshing, satisfying, and cooling.

It’s the perfect sweet treat to beat the heat.

This is what you crave in this kind of scorching weather.
This is what you crave in this kind of scorching weather.

Frozen Yoghurt-Honey Parfait with Flash-Roasted Blueberries

(Serves 8)

400ml (14 fluid ounces) double cream or heavy cream

70g (2 1/2 ounces) honey, plus extra for serving

400g (14 ounces) thick yoghurt (such as full-fat Greek yogurt)

Lemon juice

120g (4 1/4 ounces) caster sugar or fine granulated sugar

60g (2 1/4 ounces) egg whites (from about 2 large eggs)

Flash-Roasted Blueberries (recipe below)

Measure two pieces of baking parchment, each approximately 40cm (16 inches) long. Take the first piece and fold the short ends into thirds like a letter. This will give you a long strip of baking parchment. Lightly oil a 450g (1 pound or 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch) loaf tin and place the long strip of parchment across the middle of the tin. This will serve as handles when you need to release the parfait. Use the second piece of parchment to line the walls of the loaf tin, with plenty of overhang to cover the top. Place the tin into the freezer until you are ready to use.

Whip the cream until the whisk begins to leave tracks, but before it holds soft peaks, then store it in the refrigerator. Stir the honey into the thick yoghurt in a large bowl until it is fully incorporated, then add a squeeze of lemon juice and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites and sugar. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir with a spatula, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to prevent curdling, and heat the mixture until it reaches 80°C (176°F). Remove from the heat, then place the bowl on the stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed until it cools. Continue whisking until the meringue forms stiff, glossy peaks.

Using a whisk, fold one-third of the eggs whites into the yoghurt, switch to a spatula and continue folding in the rest of the egg whites. Take the cream out of the refrigerator and gently whisk until it holds soft peaks. Working quickly but carefully so as to not lose the volume you’ve created, fold one-third of the cream into the yoghurt mixture. Follow with the remaining cream until everything is incorporated.

Take the loaf tin from the freezer and pour the yoghurt parfait into the tin using the spatula to scrape the bowl clean. Cover with the overhanging baking parchment and place back into the freezer for 5 hours or overnight.

Ten minutes before you are ready to serve, transfer the parfait to the refrigerator. Just before serving, get a tray or wide bowl and fill with warm water, then dip the tin into the warm water to help release the parfait. Use a towel to remove excess water from the bottom of the tin, then place the serving plate on the top of the tin. Carefully flip the parfait over, gently tugging on the overhanging parchment until it falls onto the plate. If it won’t release from the tin, flip it back over and either dip it into the warm water again, or run a knife over the edges of the parfait until it is loose.

Slice and serve with generous spoonfuls of roasted blueberries and finish with another drizzle of honey.

Flash-Roasted Blueberries

(Serves 4)

300g (10 1/2 ounces) blueberries

1 tablespoon water

30g (1 ounce) caster or fine granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cornflour or cornstarch

Zest of 1 lemon, plus juice of 1/2

1 tablespoon kirsch (optional)

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F).

Rinse the blueberries under cool water and remove any that are mouldy or damaged. Place them into an ovenproof dish large enough for the fruit to lay in a single layer. Warm the water, sugar, and cornflour in a pan over a medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves, then spoon the syrup over the blueberries. Add the lemon zest, juice and kirsch, if desired. Give the dish a little shake, then place it into the oven. After 3 minutes, carefully shuffle the dish and make sure the blueberries are not sticking to the sides. Return it into the oven for another 3 to 5 minutes. The blueberries are done when they begin to steam slightly but still hold their shape. While a few may have started to break down, creating a glossy sauce of indigo blue, the majority of the blueberries should remain intact.

Remove from the oven and allow the dish to cool slightly. To serve warm, gently shake the try to coat the blueberries with the syrup, then carefully spoon over your desired dish. Alternatively, let them cool to room temperature, then using a flat spatula, carefully transfer the blueberries to a container and pour the juices over the fruit. Cover the container and place it in the refrigerator where they will keep for 4 days. Allow them to come to room temperature before serving.

Adapted from “Fruitful” by Sarah Johnson

Another Blueberry Treat To Cool Off With: Blueberry Ice Cream

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