Ugh, March. The month leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, not at all influenced by what I’m eating (which for the record is a diet primarily consisting of Cadbury Mini Eggs because that’s what Easter is all about for us agnostics).
The dreary cold month taunts us with a few spring-like days before dipping back into frosty mornings and lifeless grey skies. Unsavory memories emerge from the graves of Marches previous and linger like an impenetrable fog that suffocates me with thoughts of stress, heartbreak, unrelenting politics and loss. The clearer skies of April seem miles away. March calls for a ray of sun to ward away the ghosts of the past and for me, that sunlight comes in the form of passion fruit frozen yogurt
Per usual, my frozen desserts come from the genius that is Jeni Britton Bauer. Her eggless creations allow for a clearer, brighter cream flavor and with her frozen yogurts, the tanginess of the yogurt really comes through without sacrificing a smooth and rich texture.
This frozen yogurt combines my three absolute favorite flavors: passion fruit, coconut, and chocolate. The small amount of passion fruit juice that goes into the frozen yogurt still manages to permeate it with its intense tropical flavor and the acidity that comes from both the fruit and the yogurt make it more refreshing than a standard ice cream. Toasted coconut gives each bite some satisfying chew and a nutty depth of flavor while homemade dark chocolate magic shell (dark chocolate + coconut oil) tones down the bright sweetness of the passion fruit with a bit of bitterness.
Contradictory as it is, this frozen dessert, with it’s tropical and refreshing flavor, momentarily takes me to a place that is warm and sunny, where my winter coat can collect dust in the closet, and the dark worries and memories of the month can melt away for good. In the midst of March, it’s completely necessary.
Passion Fruit Frozen Yogurt with Toasted Coconut and Dark Chocolate Magic Shell
Makes roughly a quart
Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Note: Pure passion fruit juice is a bit difficult to find but should be in the juice section at any Hispanic or Asian supermarket.
½ cup passion fruit juice
1¼ cups whole milk Greek yogurt
1½ cups whole milk
2 Tbs. cornstarch
2 oz. (4 Tbs.) cream cheese, softened
½ cup heavy cream
2/3 cup plus 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
½ cup unsweetened coconut, toasted
6 oz. chocolate chips
2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. coconut oil
Combine the passion fruit juice and 3 Tbs. of sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium until the sugar dissolves. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
In another small bowl, combine 3 Tbs. of the milk and the cornstarch and mix to make a slurry. In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth. Set both aside.
Combine the rest of the milk, the cream, the rest of the sugar, and the corn syrup in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, while stirring. Let the mixture boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk and cornstarch slurry. Return to the heat and let boil for an additional minute.
Whisk the hot milk into the bowl of cream cheese until it’s smooth. Strain through a sieve if it’s a bit lumpy. Whisk in the yogurt and the passion fruit syrup. Transfer the mixture to a gallon freezer bag and close, squeezing out excess air. Fill a large bowl with ice water and submerge the bag with the frozen yogurt base in the ice water for 30 minutes.
Once the frozen yogurt mixture is cool, churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. While it churns, combine the chocolate and the coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each round, until all of the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
When the frozen yogurt is finished churning, stir in the toasted coconut. Transfer to a freezer safe container by layering spoonfuls of frozen yogurt with drizzles of the chocolate sauce until all of the frozen yogurt is in the container. You will most likely not use all of the chocolate sauce but this can be refrigerated and reheated for a later use. Place your frozen yogurt in the freezer and let it firm up overnight before scooping. Drizzle with additional passion fruit juice, if desired.