I’m a fan of America’s Test Kitchen and have been a subscriber to Cooks Illustrated since the late 1990’s. Over the years, when I’ve had an abundance of one ripe fruit or another, I’ve tried out a variety of their ice cream recipes. A very long time ago, I had an uncle send me a small pint sized ice cream maker where you froze the special bowl and then hand cranked it for 5-10 minutes. It was fun to experiment with it. Then a few years ago, I broke down an ordered a Cuisinart ice cream maker, which was really just a larger electric version of the same system, for less than $100.

But as I get older, and can afford fewer and fewer calories and have more dramatic reactions to large amounts of sugar, I’ve done that less and less. Not to mention most recipes require you to make a custard with eggs and cream, being careful not to overcook and scramble them, and then chill well before churning. Seriously. I don’t have that kind of time or patience most days, no matter how delightful the results.

A few years ago, Cooks came out with a sure-fire frozen yogurt recipe. It involved straining whole milk yogurt to remove some of the whey (Greek yogurt evidently didn’t produce the same results), and adding plain gelatin and Lyle’s Golden Syrup for improved texture. 3/4 cup of fruit, a pinch of salt, and 3/4 cup of sugar rounded out the recipe.

I tried it a few times, as I happened to have some of the Lyle’s Golden Syrup I had purchased for some other reason (briefly available locally – though not anymore). It was quite good, and a much lower calorie count than regular ice cream (177 calories vs 353 calories per serving).

As you might expect, I often have a few partial jars of jam around the house. Given that I make lower sugar jam as part of my business, and am loath to throw anything out, I often have an extra 4 to 6 oz of left over jam from a batch that isn’t quite enough for a full jar. I can it anyway, and we use them ourselves in various applications. But to be honest, we don’t eat a lot of toast and jam, and so after a while, the jars can start to taunt me.

One day, in a fit of “I really need to use some of these up” I made the same frozen yogurt recipe, but substituted 6-8 oz of jam for the fresh fruit, sugar and gelatin. My hope was that the pectin in the recipe would be an adequate substitute for the gelatin and the jam sweet enough that I didn’t need additional sugar. And you know what? It worked. Is this the most perfectly scoopable frozen yogurt ever? Naw. It can get a bit hard if it sits long enough in the freezer. But is it a good after dinner dessert that uses up what I got and doesn’t make me feel terribly guilty? Yup. It also makes great freezer pops. In fact, that’s probably the best use for it if you don’t have an ice cream maker. You can buy freezer pop molds on Amazon for not a lot of money. (This was the Cooks Illustrated winner). It’s worth having them around in the summertime!

Quick Frozen Yogurt

  • 32 oz container of full fat yogurt – strained (or, just use 24 oz of full fat Greek instead – I like Fage brand)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of jam of your choice – full or reduced sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • Line a colander with a couple of layers of cheesecloth and strain your yogurt for 8 to 12 hours in the fridge. Cooks says using Greek yogurt is not an adequate substitute, but personally, I’ll sacrifice a bit of optimum texture for not having to find room in my fridge for a colander of draining yogurt and washing cheesecloth. You do you.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the jam and yogurt. Pour into chilled ice cream maker and follow your unit’s directions. It normally churns in about 10 minutes. Add nuts, chocolate chunks or “swirls” during the last minute, or hand mix in after removing frozen yogurt from maker.
  • Pour churned mixture into a storage container. You can pour unchurned mixture directly into freezer pop molds instead. Freeze for at least 2 hours.

© 2021 where we’re miles away from using up all of our extra jam, but are happy to report we were FINALLY able to order jam jars this morning, after being out for over 3 months. Woot!