If you’re cruising in a hot climate, you probably crave ice cream. We did.
Whenever we’d hit town, we’d do all our errands, take everything back to the boat, and put it away. Hot and tired, we’d then make one more trip ashore . . . to the local ice cream shop. You can see the bliss on Dave’s face at the shop in Santa Rosalia (they also endeared themselves to us by giving us a tiny dish with just a spoonful of vanilla in it for Paz!).
We so wanted ice cream aboard Que Tal. But our freezer didn’t really get cold enough for it, and it was too small — and too filled with meat — to hold more than a couple of servings.
Then one day in Loreto, I saw a sign that the ice cream store now had frozen yogurt . . . and that got me thinking. I knew how to make wonderful thick yogurt and did so on a regular basis. I could freeze a tiny little container at a time and make more as we ate it. I didn’t know if my freezer got cold enough, but I figured I could try. As soon as we got back to the boat, I put some yogurt in the freezer. Hopefully, we’d have a treat after our hike the next day.
Oh, my! This was my single most successful experiment in cooking on the boat! It’s also one of Dave’s biggest regrets in suddenly developing a serious allergy to milk. (As a side note, most people who are lactose intolerant and thus can’t eat ice cream can eat frozen yogurt as the yogurt culturing process removes the lactose.)
None of the cookbooks I had aboard even talked about frozen yogurt, so I learned by trial and error and added it to the list of things to include if I ever wrote a cookbook for cruisers. My method is detailed below, but one thing to note is that while you can make frozen yogurt from commercial yogurt, it’s infinitely better when made with homemade or Greek-style since they don’t have gelatin added, which many commercial yogurts add as a thickener.
A small margarine tub with lid works best as the freezing container. The thin “hard” plastic works much better than the thicker “soft” plastic of most food storage containers. A thick plastic bag can also work, if you are very careful to check for holes. Later, I discovered these wonderful one-serving freezer containers (they also work really well for making a single large ice cube).
Yogurt will freeze rock solid if sugar isn’t added. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar per cup of finished frozen yogurt. My experience has been that Splenda works just as well; I have not tried other no-calorie sugar substitutes.Mix the yogurt, sugar and any add-ins (see below for ideas) in a small container, cover and place in the freezer for about 6 hours, until frozen to about the consistency of ice cream.
The exact time will vary depending on the temperature of your freezer, how full it is, the container you’re using (for example, a metal container will chill its contents much faster than a thick plastic container), and how large a batch you’re making. On a hot day, it doesn’t matter whether it’s “perfect” or not!
Some of our favorite add-ins:
- Fresh or canned fruit, cut into cubes no larger than ½”
- Soft dried fruits like raisins, dates, apricots, prunes, figs or cranberries, cut into bite-sized pieces
- A swirl of honey, peanut butter or Nutella
- Almost any sort of chocolate candy, cut into bite-sized bits
- M&M’s or Reese’s pieces
- Oreos or other cookies, broken into bits
- Granola or bran cereal (good with honey instead of sugar)
- Vanilla, rum, Kahlua, Amaretto or orange liquor
- Nestle’s Quik or other flavorings for milk (if they contain a lot of sugar, decrease or eliminate the sugar)
- A swirl of Hershey’s syrup — wonderful with a few peanuts thrown in
However you do it, enjoy your treat!