For a simple dessert or snack, top plain yogurt with granola. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)
A while back, cookbook legend Marion Cunningham did a piece on quick fruit-based desserts for Food. She included a simple technique for homemade yogurt, no special equipment or starters required:
"One of the best companions to all fruits is yogurt, and homemade yogurt is leagues better than what you buy in the store. Not only is it more wholesome, it is much cheaper than buying ready-made. Flavor your yogurt with fresh fruits and berries, preserves or grated lemon zest.
"You do have to have a yogurt starter, though, and since most of us don't have friends we can get it from, you will probably have to start with commercial yogurt for your first batch. But after that, you're set. Save some of the yogurt from the first batch you make for the starter of your next batch. With each succeeding batch, your yogurt will get better and better."
Made this way, you can have a batch of homemade yogurt in about a day. Oh, and if you're looking for a simple seasonal dessert, Cunningham recommends persimmons:
"In a very good old California recipe, for instance, persimmons are frozen, sliced, then sprinkled with brown sugar and served with yogurt."
Check out the video above for a demonstration, and continue reading below for the yogurt recipe.
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1 quart milk
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
Bring milk just to boil in saucepan over medium heat, about 1 minute. Let cool to 115 degrees.
Gently stir in plain yogurt (the starter) and pour into crockery or glass bowl. Cover snugly with plastic wrap and set in warm spot. (Gas oven with just its pilot light on or electric oven with its interior light burning is ideal. Or put it in warm corner of kitchen draped with a blanket to protect from drafts.)
Let sit until it holds together when bowl is tilted, 5 to 8 hours. Chill 3 hours to allow it to firm even more. (If yogurt sets for too long or if you use too much starter it will be watery.) Yogurt will keep refrigerated about 1 week.
1 quart. Each 1/4-cup serving: 32 calories; 32 mg sodium; 5 mg cholesterol; 1 gram fat; 3 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0 fiber.