Monday, March 14, 2011

Recipe for Sugar Free Meyer Lemon, Fresh Blueberry Swirl Frozen Yogurt Creamsicles

Let's get this whole sugar free business out of the way right now.

Yes, I did not add any sugar.

Yes, you can substitute sugar for the Splenda if you wish, and I have even given the sugar equivalent in the recipe below.

No, these are not totally, absolutely, positively sugar free.

Fruit has natural sugars in the form of fructose.

Dairy has natural sugars in the form of lactose.

Natural sugars existing in whole foods - fruits, vegetables, dairy - are a good thing. They come in their own natural packaging, often with lots of fiber.

Industry-packaged foods often mostly have added sugars, the worst being high-fructose corn syrup, and don't let them tell you otherwise.  They lie.

Still, I had a hard time adding the term sugar free to the title of this recipe, cuz it just ain't so.  There's fruit sugar and dairy sugar in abundance.  But no added sugar.  And, yeah, there's Splenda with its teeny-tiny amounts of glucose and maltodextrin, which translate to sugars.  I'm not perfect.

Whew.  Glad I got that off my chest.  Let's move on.

These are my little ode to Spring.  I had so much fun making - and, obviously - eating them.  Notice I have not called them fat free. You will see why as you read on.

What began as a formulation for Meyer lemon frozen yogurt creamsicles, which I'd been thinking about for quite some time while waiting for my frozen pop mold to arrive from Amazon (thank you Jeff & Amy!), acquired a blueberry swirl when organic blueberries from Chile began to show up in our local markets.  Carbon footprint be damned, I could not resist.

These frozen treats are packed with tartness from both the Meyer lemon juice and the yogurt, with just enough Splenda (or sugar) for balance.  The addition of the fruit swirl provides its own sweet surprise.

Before you start, please remember to drain the yogurt of its whey before proceeding (a photo of that process is here). And be sure to read my notes below for a way to use that whey.

Using a pestle to push the blueberry purée through a fine mesh sieve worked better than anything I've ever tried. It really got all the liquid out of the fruit pulp.  A word of caution: empty the sieve of any remaining pulp right away or you may later find yourself scrubbing that little screen really hard.
Fold the fruit purée into the yogurt mixture just a few times to make the swirl. Too much combining and you've lost the swirl effect.

Spoon or pour the yogurt mixture into the molds, using a skewer to remove trapped air.  When the molds are filled, tap the aparatus on a counter top a few times to settle and compact the mixture then put the sticks into the center of each mold, about halfway in.  Put the whole thing in the freezer, on a flat surface, and freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight, which I think is best.

You will have to excercise some patience.

Sugar Free Meyer Lemon, Fresh Blueberry Swirl Frozen Yogurt Creamsicles
Christine's original recipe
4 cups (32-ounce container) plain yogurt (I used full fat), drained
3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice, strained
1 cup cream or half 'n' half (see Cook's Notes)
1/2 teaspoon Tahitian vanilla
8 packets Splenda or 1/3 cup sugar (more to taste)
3/4 cup fresh blueberries (yields 1/4 cup blueberry purée)

The day before preparing the pops, drain the liquid, or whey, from the yogurt. (See Cook's Notes for uses for the whey.)  To do this, drape a damp piece of cheesecloth over a sieve that has been set over a large glass container, such as an 8-cup measure.
Spoon or pour the yogurt into the cheese cloth then set the whole thing in the fridge and allow it to drain overnight.
Put the drained yogurt, or yogurt cheese as it is called, into the rinsed 8-cup glass measure or a large bowl and stir in the lemon juice until fully blended.
Stir in the cream and vanilla then the Splenda, or sugar.  If using sugar, stir the mixture until it begins to lose its grainy feel.
You should now have about 5 cups of yogurt mixture; put this in the fridge and continue with prepping the blueberries.
Place the blueberries in a food processor and buzz until they are well puréed; they will not be a liquid at this point.
Scrape the purée from the processor bowl into a very fine mesh sieve placed over a small glass measuring cup.  Then, using a small pestle, stir, stir, stir until all the liquid falls into the measuring cup leaving very dry  pulp in the sieve. I started out using the back of a spoon for this process but soon found I was wasting my time, hence the pestle which did the job quickly with maximum extraction of liquid.
Drizzle the liquid blueberry purée over the yogurt mixture and give it a quick stir with a rubber spatula. Don't overmix as you want the blueberry to be a just a swirl, not a complete color changer.
Spoon this mixture into the molds of a frozen popsicle container, removing air pockets with a smooth bamboo skewer or one of the popsicle sticks that come with the mold.  (It's important to do this because trapped air will cause the creamsicles to form ice crystals within and will result in not being a creamy smooth frozen treat.)
When the molds are filled. Tap them on a counter top to compact the yogurt mixture then place the pop sticks in the center of each mold and freeze until very firm - overnight is best if you can stand the wait.
To un-mold the pops, fill a large container or sink with hot water. Put the molds in the water to within an inch of the top for no more than 5 seconds, then remove from the water.  You may have to squeeze each individual mold with your hands to help the frozen yogurt within separate from the mold. You may also need to re-dip into the hot water several times to get the pops to un-mold.  Placing your fingers on the pop stick, close to the frozen yogurt, pull up gently until the pop releases from the mold.

Go ahead, take a bite.  I'll wait.

To store the creamsicles (as if), wrap each one in its own piece of plastic wrap and layer them in a ziptop freezer bag and put them back in the freezer.  Pull one out when you get a yen for a lip-smackin', tart-sweet, frozen fruity treat.

As is abundantly clear from the recipe, this is not a low-fat frozen treat. However, having made this, I think I can safely say that you could successfully lower the fat content by substituting low-fat yogurt and low-fat milk for some of the cream or half 'n' half without compromising the structure of these so aptly-named creamsicles.

8 packets Splenda equals 1/3 cup sugar.  12 packets Splenda equals 1/2 cup sugar.

Yogurt whey may be used as a substitute for buttermilk in baking with great success.  I just made a batch of gluten-free buckwheat pancakes this morning and used the leftover yogurt whey instead of buttermilk.  It worked splendidly and I plan to post a recipe soon.
Happy cooking!

Copyright © 2005-2011, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


  1. I do get tired of hearing from people about sugar/Splenda and which is better. I say, let everyone make their own decision!

    The popsicles look great!

  2. I agree Kalyn. I am tired of defending myself and I'm done with it. Glad you like the pops.

  3. This looks absolutely fantastic - I love the simplicity of your recipes. Am new here - great to have discovered your blog.

  4. Thank you for stopping by, Sprinzette. I am enchanted by your blog and will visit often!

  5. Oh my, these look so good! I wish I had more meyer lemons now! ;-)

    Although, I'd love to try this with some orange juice with the blueberries...

  6. Ooooh, blueberries and Cara Cara orange juice! Yum, Michelle!

  7. MMMMMM,...What lovely lollypops!

    Can't wait to make them!! Theylook fab!

    MMMMMMM,...! :)

  8. Thank you Sophie. I just love your enthusiasm!

  9. Lots of work there, and they do look so mouthwatering!

  10. These creamscicles look so good, especially with the summer heat coming up soon. There's a place in my town that sells paletas similar to this (but they do crazy flavors like hibiscus and chocolate with peppers), but it'd be nice to have them homemade.
    Thanks for posting!

    Take care,
    -- Chelsey


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