Tired of the usual groundcovers (pachysandra, English ivy), and needing something to camouflage the weeds in my beds, I planted strawberries. They grew with great gusto, cheerfully sending runners in every direction, including directions they weren’t wanted. But, they looked so pretty and I figured, as I yanked them out of the lawn, I’d have a basket of berries come June. It seems the birds and squirrels had the same idea and got up much earlier in the morning than I did. I retaliated with whirligigs and netting with little or no results. Every morning I’d look hopefully under the saw-tooth leaves to find pathetic gnawed white nubs dangling from vacant stems.
Now I buy my berries at the farm stand, waiting impatiently until the first, magnificently sweet local fruit arrives. I buy one quart for eating and one to make frozen yogurt that tastes as creamy and satisfying as ice cream while keeping you in shape for bathing suit weather.
Frozen Strawberry Parfait
This is made in an ice cream–making machine. It can be made with whole or low-fat yogurt. As you need a thick yogurt base, choose naturally thick Greek-style yogurt or regular yogurt that will need to be strained overnight, a simple process (see * below). For this recipe, select strawberries not for their looks, but for their flavor because the sweeter the better. Yields 1½ quarts.
- 2 cups plain thick yogurt OR 2 cups strained whole milk or low-fat yogurt
- 1 quart ripe, flavorful strawberries, hulled, rinsed and coarsely chopped
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- Place the berries in a mixing bowl, add the sugar and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate the berries for at least 2 hours or as long as 12 hours.
- Drain the liquid from the strawberries and reserve. Gently stir the fruit and yogurt together and freeze according to your machine’s directions.
- Optional: Stir 2–3 T orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau, into the strawberry juice.
- Add a spoonful of the strawberry juice to the bottom of parfait glasses (wine glasses are great for this dessert as well), top with scoops of frozen yogurt, and drizzle more juice on top. Serve immediately.
*How to strain yogurt: Some people call this yogurt cheese, but the texture reminds me much more of sour cream. Line a large fine-mesh sieve with two layers of cheesecloth, or a large coffee filter. Place the strainer over a mixing bowl and spoon in 3 cups of plain yogurt. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. The liquid will drain off and you will have 2 cups of thick yogurt.