Is there anything worse in the life of a baker than reading an amazing recipe, deciding to make it right then and there, and running out of caster sugar? You’re about 100g short to make a delicious cake that you swore you had all the ingredients for, and you sulk off, plans ruined and cake-less. There really is no worse feeling.
Yet sometimes in life, you hit the recipe jackpot. The other day, I nonchalantly bought a tub of yoghurt alongside my copy of the Observer, milk and bacon. As I settled down to read the magazine supplement, the ever-brilliant Nigel Slater caught my eye with his column, this week all about mint. In the article accompanying the recipes, he bemoaned the ‘pointless mint sprig’ that appears on many a dessert plate as a garnish, alongside ‘a shower of icing sugar, usually in the company of an inappropriate raspberry’. I couldn’t have agreed (or laughed) more, and couldn’t wait to see his recipes that celebrated, rather than hindered this glorious herb. As I turned the page, I drooled over the concept of frozen mint choc chip yoghurt, glanced over the ingredients list and my heart leapt. I had everything in! I had recently replenished my caster sugar stocks, there was leftover chocolate from my Ultimate Chocolate Birthday Cake, and there was a packet of mint sitting bored in the fridge, with nothing more than a couple of sprigs picked out to make Raspberry Champagne Mojitos. It was recipe making fate, and I quickly set about making this seriously tasty ice cream substitute.
I’ve been rather wary of recipes in the past that don’t call for an ice cream maker; I’ve tried making with and without and more often than not, ice cream machine wins hands down. But this recipe only calls for patience and a little elbow grease whisking the ice particles together into smooth frozen yoghurt. True, there is a lot of waiting around, but it’s a perfect recipe to make when you have other things to do. Put on a wash. Whisk. Tidy your room. Whisk. Make a bacon sandwich. Whisk. A simple way to make a delicious frozen treat without staring at an ice cream machine for 20 minutes. Now that’s what I call recipe genius. Nigel, I salute you.
Recipe adapted slightly from The Observer Magazine 20/05/2012
You Will Need
7g mint sprigs
125g caster sugar
325g plain yoghurt
40g 70% plain chocolate
Place half the mint sprigs and the caster sugar in a mortar and pestle, and grind together until you have a light green scented sugar. Tip into a saucepan and add the water. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and place the saucepan in a sink filled with a shallow layer of cold water. Leave to cool.
Blitz the remaining mint with the yoghurt with a hand blender and pour into a bowl. Once the mint syrup has cooled, pour into the yoghurt and mix together carefully. Transfer to a plastic tub suitable for the freezer and freeze for two hours. Remove, then whisk the ice crystals that have formed at the sides into the middle of the tub then place back in the freezer.
Repeat about 4-5 times each half hour until the yoghurt has almost frozen, then roughly chop the chocolate into small pieces and fold in carefully. Place back in the freezer and leave to freeze completely.
When ready to serve, remove from the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then serve with an ice cream scoop that has been warmed in a mug of hot water.