September 29, 2009

the month of figs

Another month came and almost ended, and so did the season of figs, a most beautiful, seductive fruit you find this time of the year. They are found all around the world and can come in a number of different cultivars, but the one that is most prevalent at stores in Tokyo is a brown-skinned and white-and-pink-fleshed kind that I believe may be closest to the one called Brown Turkey in the US, only they are a lot larger here.

In the past here on my blog, I have confessed my enthusiasm for figs more than once, so I refrain from waxing lyrical all over again.

But I couldn't help but doing a post about what I did with them over the month of September - because I spent quite a bit of time taking pictures of the beautiful fruit like I had never seen them before, and eating them like there was no tomorrow.

While I love eating fresh figs fresh, I found myself popping them in the oven (or putting them under the grill) a lot this year. One of the easiest and most delicious ways was this:

Open-face sandwich with fig and goat cheese. Here, a buttery, flaky croissant was halved, smeared with mashed fig flesh, topped with tomato slices and goat cheese pieces as well as salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence, drizzled with olive oil and grilled briefly. This was inspired by this recipe, which really is for a pie. But as I felt too lazy to roll out a puff pastry dough, I opted for something that is easier and quicker to deal with and just as puffy and tasty; croissant.

The original recipe also calls for gruyere cheese as a topping, but as the one I found at my local store was ridiculously expensive, I gave up on it. Instead, I used a cheese croissant from Paul, a bakery chain I don't head to that often when in Paris but keep going back to in Tokyo, if nothing else for their cheese croissant (which they don't seem to offer in France or in the UK). This would make up for a lack of cheesiness in my sandwich, I hoped.

Adorned with some torn fresh basil leaves, my version of savory fig pie was ready in a flash. And now that you realize that these are more of sandwiches or maybe tartines than pies, I've been making other forms of fig-cheese tartines over and over again in the past, using other types of cheese and/or bread. But ripe tomato slices really made a nice addition to the sandwich, and the use of a croissant definitely turned the whole thing into a really rich (but light) fare.

Another savory dish I did:

A salad of fresh fig slices and arugula dressed in a sherry vinegar-based vinaigrette, topped with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano and chopped pistachios and bitter chocolate. In its original recipe found in A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table (Simon & Schuster, 2009), the book by Molly Wizenberg of Orangette, the key players of the salad are arugula and bitter chocolate. But as Molly tells us that she first had it with fresh figs and Permigiano cheese, so I did the same. And I thought it was better that way, with the fig and cheese making the salad a more substantial meal, not to mention their affinity with chocolate and pistachios.

The rest is all on the sweeter side....

One of the first things I did was clafoutis. Which, to be honest, isn't a kind of dessert that I care for the most; I seem to have some complicated relationship with some of the custard-like things such as clafoutis and flans, for their eggy taste (then again, I love creme caramel and creme brulee - don't ask me why). But I remembered once making clafoutis that used ground almonds and liking it, so I dug up the recipe and gave it a try, using figs, grapes, and peaches.

After about an hour of baking (longer than it was required in the recipe, thanks to my stupid oven), what came out was warm, golden-crusted ramekins of... tofu. No, you did read it right. TOFU. How it turned out that way with no soy milk nor any other soy-based ingredient used, I do not know, but it tasted exactly like tofu - only warm and sweet. Yes, quite distasteful. I so wanted to chuck the lot away, but did eat them in the end, though very reluctantly.

Overcome with the shock of making such a flop, and wondering if this was because I had bookmarked the wrong recipe in the first place or else simply my oven had failed to produce a decent stuff again (or maybe I had?), I went desperately for a similar recipe that looked promising:

Frangipane clafoutis with figs and grapes, though you don't see figs anywhere in the picture (they were all buried deep). What is instantly visible here is butter-sauteed grape halves sitting on top of crusty cake, which is so light and airy it is more like souffle. I turned to the recipe for one of Helene's beautiful creations, and it worked all good, except mine didn't rise as much as hers had (but didn't sink much, either). Still puffy and light, it made a nice vehicle for juicy grapes (and figs, of course).

Although this clafoutis was a breeze to make, it might just have been the most elaborate recipe I did this month - in that it involves whipping egg whites (which I did with an electric mixer anyway, but still). My point is, everything else I did was even easier and simpler to make - like bread and butter pudding.

Made based on the recipe here, this pudding had its sweetness largely from honey-roasted figs layered between the slices of fruited bread.

I was supposed to save some of the roasted figs for topping, but I ended up not having any left, so I just sliced up another fig and placed them on top of the pudding before it went into the oven. And because I used French-style fig and walnut bread here, my batch turned out as double-fig bread and butter pudding, using both fresh and dried figs. Re-heated in the morning following the day I'd baked it, this made lovely, hearty breakfast - especially when it was one of the first cooler mornings.

Another quick treat built upon honey-roasted figs:

Honey-roasted fig trifle; a simple deal with layers of fruit(s), custard, cream, and sponge. The idea of using figs roasted with honey in trifle came from here, but otherwise I pretty much played it by ear, making an easy microwave custard and using what is known here as brandy cake.

Now 'brandy cake' in Japan generally refers to some sort of plain loaf of butter cake or sponge doused with so much brandy it almost knocks you out by merely opening the package. Or so as far as I know; when I was a kid, we would sometimes receive brandy cake as a gift from someone, and no matter which cake shop it came from, it would invariably be over-the-top heady - even to someone who has always loved her cake boozy and would willingly overdose on brandy- or rum-soaked dried fruits in her Christmas cake even when she was a high school kid (never mind who she is).

I hadn't had brandy cake in a long time, and when it did, it came, alas, as a gift. And just as boozy as I always remembered it to be. Since I couldn't eat too much of it on its own, I used most of it in the trifle. And surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), the trifle was quite tipsy even though I hadn't soaked the sponge with liquor like you'd normally do with trifle. The cake was that boozy in the first place.

And one more quickie treat:

Fig and chestnut pie, made with store-bought puff pastry and candied chestnuts along with fresh figs. I didn't even bother to make filling, such as almond cream or custard - just topped puff pastry rounds with fig wedges and chestnut halves, and drizzled a bit of honey (again) over them. But really, when figs became caramelized and all tender to the point they effectively melt in your mouth, who needs creamy filling in your pie? Well, I wouldn't refuse it if you served me one that way, but for now I was quite content with its simplicity. Some home-made fig ice cream did make a nice accompaniment, though.

Because baked desserts weren't the only things I did with roasted figs this year...

You might have noticed that I was making a lot of ice cream this summer, with a number of different fruits but always using honey as the only added sweetener. The trend continued on as summer turned into autumn, now with fruits of autumn like figs and Italian plums (and even sweet potatoes, which aren't a fruit but often used in Japanese desserts like these ones - trust me they are good!). Other than these main ingredients themselves being more autumnal, the method of preparing them was now also more suitable for a cooler season; baking.

As far as fresh fig-based frozen desserts go, I just made fig-nectarine frozen yogurt last month, and a year ago I tried this fig ice cream (though it never made it to my blogs). Both use fresh figs uncooked, and I enjoyed them both, but when I thought about making fig ice cream a few weeks ago, I wanted to further boost the flavor of fig in my ice cream. And as I was making other recipes and struck anew by how concentrated fig's flavor got when roasted, it seemed suddenly natural to roast my figs for ice cream.

Of course, I am aware that the idea of roasting fruits before adding them to an ice cream base is nothing original or unique. I, for one, was inspired also by my own experience of trying a recipe for plum ice cream that requires the fruits to be roasted first with butter and sugar; it made the richest, most luscious ice cream ever. So I only adopted the concept to figs, while making the ice cream sugar- and egg-free as I had done all summer.

And it hit the spot. I'm a genius, I thought to myself (I haven't said it to anyone aloud, so you could give me a break...). The intoxicating aroma and sweetness of figs only become more intense when roasted, taking on a slightly caramelized flavor in addition to a hint of honey. And that translated well into the ice cream.

The preparation overall is the same with the other fruit ice creams that I was making; pureeing the fruit, adding a few spoonful of honey and a dash of spirit/liquor, freezing it, processing it in a blender until smooth and adding lightly whipped heavy cream, re-freezing it and re-processing it, and freezing once more. The only big difference was that the fruit was first roasted with honey.

While I was mostly happy with my first batch of honey-roasted fig ice cream, it still felt that it might need a bit of acidity to balance out the intense richness of figs. So in my second trial, I roasted figs with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar along with honey.

I also used rosemary as it is one of my favorite flavors to add to figs. While it smelled heavenly while baking, the scent of the herb got lost once the figs had been blended with cream and frozen; next time I might try and boost the rosemary flavor perhaps by adding minced leaves to the puree, or infusing the cream with a few sprigs.

Although the flavor of rosemary didn't shine through as much as I had hoped it to be, I still found that cooking fruits gives me a chance to add a flavor to my ice cream through the heating process. This was something I had deliberately left out when making other ice creams during the summer, in an attempt to make the ice cream-making as simple and as quick as possible (i.e. so that no cooking is involved). But if I do cook my fruits, I should might as well add something, I thought - such as herbs and spices.

And if I do add spices to my fig ice cream, what spices would I use? Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and black peppercorns would be my usual suspects. Now, wouldn't this set of spices remind me of something? Mulled wine. Wine? Why not cooking figs in wine then?

This string of ideas led me to make another type of fig ice cream.

Which was red wine and fig ice cream, or maybe fig and mulled-wine ice cream. And it made another hit - here, the flavors of fig, wine and spices all came through beautifully and well mingled, and just like roasted fig ice cream, this seemed also very suitable to cooler seasons; too bad I can't make it at the heart of winter!

I used sliced ginger root, cinnamon, cardamom, black peppercorns, and cloves as well as a few slices of lemon to poach the figs. And I'll let you into the secret: I used some leftover from the last jar of honey-ginger syrup I'd made for home-made ginger ale, and it worked perfectly well.

And there is one last thing with figs - and ginger ale:

Quick fig-nectarine preserve with red wine and spices (never mind if it sounds rather like some ice cream you've just read about), and ginger ale scones. Yes, you read it right again: ginger ale scones. These were a cousin of lemonade scones I found here, which are scones made using lemonade.

I was intrigued by the mere sound of 'lemonade scones', but you might need some explanations if you, like me, are someone who associates the word 'lemonade' with a cold, sweet and sour soft drink that has a distinct flavor of lemon. The term 'lemonade' can refer to something completely different in some other parts of the world, which include the UK and apparently Australia where the recipe author is from; it is, in my mind, better called Sprite or 7-up - a carbonated sweet soft drink that is not necessarily lemon-flavored.

So the trick here is to use lemonade - I mean Sprite - so that it reacts together with baking soda to make the scones rise when baked. So most sodas should work here - including ginger ale, I suspected.

Hence my ginger ale scones here. Now, to be straight with you, they didn't taste of ginger at all. Which I had half expected, especially when I used stronger-tasting whole wheat flour (which happened to be the only flour I had sitting around in my kitchen) rather than regular plain flour. If I really wanted to make my scones taste of ginger, I could add grated ginger root or even crystallized ginger, I reckon, but the fun part of this recipe was to use fizzy drink in a scone dough, and it was fun to watch how the dough felt almost fizzy when added with ginger ale.

And oh, scones tasted good anyway - though it tasted more like biscuits when they were hardly sweet and packed with the flavor of whole wheat (not that I can always tell apart scones and [American] biscuits, but I always see the former a little sweeter and the latter a little more rustic). But the fig preserve and cream sufficiently made them look and taste like proper scones, I think.

So this was how I spent this year's fig season...

I have a long list of recipes using fresh figs to go through, and I wish I could have tried more from it. It would also have been nice to make something a little more elaborate, such as cakes and tarts, but I haven't been feeling composed enough to opt to make anything complicated, with a lot of things occupying my mind during the month. Or maybe you can just call me a lazy cook - I'm a one!

As we are getting close to the end of the fresh fig season, I seem to keep grabbing a pack of figs whenever I go out grocery shopping, telling myself that 'this could be my last figs of the season' - which can be true! They could disappear from the store shelves anytime soon, and I will have to wait for almost a year until they arrive again next summer. Better safe than sorry, right?

The only problem is, they are extremely perishable and I have to be careful to make sure I eat them before they are spoiled. So excuse me as I'm off to save another couple of fresh figs sitting countertop for a couple of days now... hope you enjoyed your dose of fresh figs, too! -c x

September 9, 2009

'tis (almost) weekend, and (almost) happy hour...

I had a fairly easy summer on the workfront, and as the heat and humidity gradually wanes, everything now seems to be back to normal - not that I had a real summer holiday, but it feels kind of like it.

My being a freelancer, a weekend doesn't necessarily equal to days off. It's often quite an opposite, for lots of clients would throw some work in right at the end of a workweek and expect to receive it back first thing in the following week. I remember how we used to receive a fax coming in at six in the evening on a Friday, where a client asks us to return it by Monday morning. After all these years, things haven't changed very much, only fax has largely been replaced by emails.

But I'm not going to complain about it, really, for I get to have some non-work time on weekdays during the daytime when many people are at work. Anyways, it looks like I need to be working pretty much non-stop for this weekend, I thought I'd quickly post something that would hopefully cheer me up along the way.

This is what I call tipsy ginger ale, or home-made honey-ginger syrup with sparkling wine. I've been enjoying the home-made ginger ale all summer, usually topping it with sparkling water. But I tried it with sparkling wine for a change when at the picnic in one late August evening, and found it tasting closer to the 'real' ginger ale than with water. I suspected I might have been too drunk to taste the real difference, so gave it another try on another day when I was (still) sober. And it really did taste just like a 'proper' ginger ale!

It might have been the taste of wine that balanced off that of honey, or that the wine was more strongly carbonated than regular sparkling water, making it drink more like commercial ginger ale, I do not know. But I'm quite happy whatever the reason may be, though I now need to be careful not to be on the drink, for this stuff doesn't taste of alcohol at all!

And while we are talking about ginger ale...
This one is the home-made lychee liquor that I made back in late June, topped with ginger ale. After two months of steeping fresh lychee nuts in gin and vodka (separately), both have taken on a brownish tinge (like this) and give off a wonderfully sweet smell of lychee. Although it was merely as a result of my sheer mistake that I first made it with gin instead of vodka, I now find myself preferring the former. It could be only because I like gin to begin with, but it seems to complement the flavor of lychee better than the neutral vodka does. Who knows, it's maybe just me.

As I grabbed a few different kinds of ginger ale, I treated myself to shandygaff, mixing them up with some lager...

You know, I don't like summer, but it's good to reminisce over one when it is already over. Almost, anyways.

Alright, now back to work - it's still eleven in the morning on Thursday around here, but it's never too early to start a happy hour and/or a weekend, I reckon.

(This photo's from a farmer's market near Melbourne, on my last visit there back in 2006. Some of the photos are here if you are in need of killing time in the weekend. A glass of wine or beer in hand wouldn't hurt.)

Have a wonderful week(end) everyone! -c x

September 4, 2009

sweet and icy, and a little bit tangy

Unlike last summer, this summer has proved to have been a relatively mild one. Much like last summer, though, I have turned into a fierce ice cream maker (and eater, obviously), churning up a whole lot of ice cream and sorbet like a machine.

While I was keenly making sorbets last year, this year I have been all about fruit-based, honey-sweetened ice creams and sorbets. I started with melon, and used it as a 'basic' recipe, and tested and re-tested over and over again. Meanwhile, I also experimented with other fruits, too, including pineapple, kiwifruit, watermelon, orange, and peach. Although most of them made decent ice creams, some were a bit of disappointments, and the biggest one of all was, to my surprise, peach.

I love peaches, white or yellow, cooked or uncooked, simply sliced or in the form of dessert - especially Japanese ones. I love peach ice cream (this one in particular), too, but mine didn't turn out nowhere as good - at least in the way I had made that worked with many other fruits. It's not that it tasted bad, but it just lacked flavor desperately; the flavor of peach didn't come through, nor was there the flavor of anything else, really. It could have had more to do with the somewhat poor quality of the white peaches I had used to begin with, but I felt that it needed something to add a kick to it, be it a spice or a herb, or maybe some other fruits, even.

I could have re-tried it, adjusting the amount of ingredients and/or adding something else. Or gone looking for something completely different. But what I wondered as I first tasted it was this: wouldn't it work if I simply replaced the cream with yogurt? Because Japanese peaches tend to be really sweet and juicy with a hint of bitterness, but hardly any tartness. And that's where the tang of yogurt would fit in, I guessed.

So I went ahead and gave peach-yogurt ice cream a try, though it was now more of peach frozen yogurt. I used thickened yogurt which is plain/natural yogurt that has been drained overnight in a paper towel-lined strainer, to give my frozen dessert a concentrated flavor of yogurt. The rest was mostly the same with the fruit-based ice cream; puree the flesh of fruit, add honey and spirit/liquor, and freeze, process in the blender, freeze again, and so on. Simple enough.

Then came the taste-testing...

Verdict: pretty good. A simple swap between heavy cream and yogurt worked wonders and created a silkily smooth, soothingly icy treat that was satisfyingly peachy and pleasantly tangy.

Inspired, I tried it again with a flavor add-on: mint. It was something I had been doing with other fruit ice cream, and the idea originally came from the mint ice cream I'd made a couple of summers ago. I blanched a heap of fresh mint leaves in boiling water (and the cooking water made mint tea as I mentioned briefly in my last post), and pureed them along with the peaches. Although the resulting frozen yogurt tasted good and minty fresh, the color of the mixture was rather horrifying; I'd hoped that the green of mint would mask any pinky shade that peach had so the whole thing would be simply pale green, but it instead tuned purplish - a mixture of green and pink, you know. The addition of yogurt did subdue it a bit, but I still didn't dare to take a picture....

Now something slightly more photogenic(ish):

Swirled into the yellow peach-based yogurt base was some blueberries that had been stewed briefly with a bit of honey and juice of lemon, added at the very end, right before the final round of freezing, making blueberry-swirl peach frozen yogurt. I would have liked to make it with white peach and raspberry, but I was out of frozen raspberries (and there was no way I could use fresh ones here, for fresh raspberries are usually outrageously expensive around here), so I went for blueberries, which are increasingly available at reasonable prices. I also used yellow peaches for this one, for that was what was on sale at the time I shopped. I must admit that the blueberry part had a slightly funny taste, possibly due to the particular honey that I had paired with it, but not sure. I'd love to give it another try when blueberries come in plentiful again - just in ten months or so. Sigh.

In the meantime, I wanted to try the frozen yogurt with some other fruits, too, and I'd wonder what would work well, as I walked down the produce aisle at a local supermarket one late August day. Maybe bananas, or pineapples, perhaps? I was sure berries of any kind would work, but nothing was available at a price that would justify a purchase. Then my eyes fell upon figs, which had started to become cheaper and better. I wouldn't normally associate figs with peaches, but when I thought about the flavor factor (i.e. a general lack of kick, especially tartness), they seemed similar and it seemed to make sense to try the frozen yogurt with figs.

I was going to do it with figs only, but at the store they happened to sit right next to white nectarines, and I grabbed a pack of them without hesitation. Back home and standing in the kitchen, I thought, well, why not using both figs and nectarines?

As much as I'm very partial to Japanese white peaches, I also adore white nectarines very much. I first had them in Hawaii, I think, but the first really good ones I had were those in Australia when I visited there in 2006. Sweet and juicy, firm but not stone-hard, they were the closest thing to Japanese white peaches outside of Japan - rather more so than regular white peaches were (except maybe doughnut peaches). I had never seen white nectarines in Japan until this year; as far as I know, nectarines here are all yellow, and they aren't even labeled as white or yellow, for there was no white. So I was really excited to find them at the store this year.

The combination of peaches/nectarines and figs isn't something that would come to my mind naturally, but I happened to have seen a recipe for white peach and fig granita in a food magazine, so I decided to go ahead with them.

I went with about half each of the two fruits, but my white nectarine and fig frozen yogurt came out definitely more figgy than nectarine-y. While the simple peach frozen yogurt was as light as a feather, this one here was just a notch richer with a hint of musky aroma of fig, making it a favorable late summer/early autumn treat.

The above-mentioned granita, by the way, was from the last December/January issue of donna hay magazine (#42, 2008) that I'd bought back in this past March while in London. Though it was essentially a Christmas issue, being a southern hemisphere-based magazine, it was full of summery recipes, including some with peaches and nectarines. I remember reading this in London, when the air was just about to become warm there, longing for the stone fruit season. And can you believe it is almost over? Not fair!

Anyhow, because I had white nectarines and figs at hand, I might as well would do the granita, too, I thought. Hence white nectarine and fig granita here.

Like most granita recipes, this one was fairly simple to make. You puree some white peaches (or nectarines, as I did) and figs, and add sugar that has been dissolved into water; here are not required to cook up sugar and water until syrupy, just until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture into a tray and pop it in the freezer, stirring it now and then until all frozen and icy.

Except this time, in keeping with my recent obsession with making honey-sweetened frozen treat, I replaced the sugar with honey - and simply added some water, just to thin down the fig-nectarine mixture that was quite thick when pureed. I also added a bit of gin (which has replaced vodka as my choice spirit to use in frozen desserts) and some juice of fresh ginger, although that was hardly noticeable in the granita. It still tasted good, though.

As I had yet more figs and nectarines left, I made a little extra effort and did one more thing with them; baking. Yes, it has finally become cool enough to fire up the oven.

I love baking with figs. And it looked as if everyone was baking up figs in the blogsphere these past week or so, and I was itching to do my share - at least a bit. I would have liked to do something a little more elaborate to showcase this beautiful early autumn goodness, but for now I settled with something simple and rustic, which is to say, my kind of cake.

As it happens, the stone fruit feature article on the said issue of donna hay magazine had a recipe for lemony peach cake, which was more or less a simple pound cake with a good dose of grated lemon rind and a bit of yogurt added to it. It sounded good and looked fairly simple to make.

So that made my cake of the day, except I topped it with figs and nectarines in place of yellow peaches as used in the recipe. I really came to take a liking to the fig-peach/nectarine combo! And oh, I also substituted brown sugar and whole wheat flour for white sugar and flour, respectively.

Baked in small individual-sized pans and dusted with confectioner's sugar on top, my lemony nectarine-fig cake made a rather pretty afternoon treat, especially with the nectarine-fig frozen yogurt as well as fruit wedges alongside.

The cake was light and nicely spongy, and tasted fairly good, which came as a bit of surprise to me, to be honest. The thing is, I can't really say that I have always been successful with Donna Hay baking recipes. I admire her beautiful magazine, and her recipes for savory dishes have usually worked alright - just not baking recipes. The ones I've tried have produced a varying degree of success, with a rather high chance of disappointments, as far as I am concerned. Maybe it is just me, but who knows.

So my hope wasn't sky high when I was baking this cake, which would have been what made all the difference.

But I enjoyed the cake, as its tiny last sliver of residual heat melted the frozen yogurt, tuning into a nice sauce for the cake. And I'm looking forward to baking more with figs for the coming few weeks.

Now I'm leaving you with a brief note on how to make my frozen yogurt, in case anyone is interested. All amounts are approximate.

Honey-sweetened Peach Frozen Yogurt

Makes approx. 1 1/4 cups / 300 ml frozen yogurt.

14-16 oz. / 400-450 g plain yogurt
1-2 white peaches, peeled or unpeeled, pitted, and cut into chunks to make 1 heaping cupful / 240+ ml
1 tsp. juice of lemon
2-3 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. gin (or vodka, or other spirit/liquor to go with peach)

First, drain the yogurt by placing it in a large strainer lined with a double layer of paper towel and, set over a bowl. Cover and leave it overnight in the fridge. It should yield approx. 1/2 cup / 120 ml of thick yogurt. Keep chilled until ready for use.

Meanwhile, using a blender, puree the peach chunks with the juice of lemon, and measure out approx. 3/4 cup / 180 ml / 180 g of puree. Add 2 Tbs. of honey and gin, and mix well. Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze until almost firm, 3-4 hours or overnight.

With a metal spoon, break the frozen mixture into pieces, and process until the mixture is smooth in the blender. Add the thickened yogurt and process further until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture back into the container, cover and freeze for another 3-4 hours, or until almost firm. Process once more until smooth, and taste; add another Tbs. of honey if necessary. Freeze again for further 3-4 hours or until ready to serve.


- This may seem to make some odd amount of frozen yogurt, but this was the way it worked around here; most store-bought plain yogurt comes in a 400- to 450-g tub, and peaches are large and weigh 8-9 oz. / 230-250 g or so. I also tend to make desserts in a small amount, too. Feel free to adjust the amount to suit your needs. In general, up to about 1 cup / 240 ml / 220-240 g peach puree should work fine with every 1/2 cup / 120 ml thickened yogurt.

- I don't use an ice cream machine because I don't have one. If you do, though, by all means use it - just combine the pureed peach mixture and thickened yogurt and churn according to the manufacturer's directions. You may also use a food processor or an immersion blender to puree and smoothen the mixture, although I have not tried them myself; either way, make sure that your choice of machine is sturdy enough to process ice.

- Either white or yellow peaches work fine. You could also use nectarines. For the white nectarine and fig frozen yogurt mentioned above, use a white nectarine and a fig or two for a combined 3/4 - 1 cup / 180 - 240 g of puree.

Enjoy! -c x