One year ago, New York frozen yogurt was in a state of emergency. Fake Tasti D-Lite and its clones were in every 10-block radius. The “frozen dessert” chain boasts 100 flavors, but they all taste like soapy whipped air. There’s no excuse, since each serving has as much as 224 calories, instead of the advertised 40. Dude, why don’t you add some cocoa powder (which is virtually fat-free anyway) instead of lactase?
Tasti even replaced the excellent soft-serve at Ben & Jerry’s in Grand Central station. To satisfy my craving, I scoped out at least five delis, which advertised in big letters: “Frozen yogurt.” I always came out disappointed, since their machines were never running.
“Does anyone remember real frozen yogurt?” a Chowhounder lamented on an online message board. I felt the same way. Where was that stuff I ate to celebrate my brother’s birthday and me passing my driver’s license exam?
Early this year an L.A. transplant, Pinkberry, revived real frozen yogurt. It’s so popular out west that people don’t mind paying $68 for a large: $7.50 for the yogurt and the rest in parking tickets (because it’s so crowded). While I’m thankful that Pinkberry changed the culinary landscape, I’m not sure why they got all the credit.
Since the ’70s, Bloomingdale’s Forty Carrots cafe has made much better plain frozen yogurt. Not to be confused with vanilla, it’s refreshingly tart and creamy. “Crapberry” resembles sour ice milk. There’s a difference between tart and sour. Sour is what spoiled food tastes like.
Several bloggers, including 101 Cookbooks, re-created the treat at home with nothing more than plain yogurt and sugar. I used Fage’s 2% Greek yogurt, which is incredibly rich, since the water’s strained out. A 32-ounce tub costs about $4 at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but it’s not so expensive, considering that you’d need to buy twice as much mediocre yogurt and let it drain for 24 hours to get the same result.
Paired with strawberries, it makes a great berries and cream-type dessert. Add some blueberries too, to get a red, white and blue theme going. Happy fourth!
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