My oh my, we are in love with this dessert. This yogurt-based pudding, much like a panna cotta, makes an elegant presentation, and its tart-and-sweet complexity makes it all the more interesting. Vanilla and orange zest give it intense flavors, while cream, milk, and yogurt combine for a silky-smooth creaminess. The recipe, from the amazing Jerusalem cookbook, calls for fresh peaches, but I improvised some and used frozen cherries instead, and they were a wonderful complement to the vanilla, ouzo, and lemon flavors in the sauce. Delicious! I’m looking forward to making this with summer-ripe peaches too.
Yogurt Pudding with Poached Cherries
(Adapted from the recipe “Yogurt Pudding with Poached Peaches” in Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s cookbook Jerusalem)
- 7 g. (0.25 oz) gelatin powder (Note: the Jerusalem recipe uses 4 gelatin sheets, softening them in cold water before use, but I substituted powdered gelatin and just dissolved it in the milk before adding to the saucepan — I think this is much easier than using the sheets)
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream (200 ml)
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp whole milk (200 ml)
- scant 1 cup (190 g) superfine sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- grated zest of 1/2 orange
- scant 1 cup (200 g) Greek yogurt
For the poached cherry sauce:
- 1 cup (250 ml) water
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) arak/ouzo/pernod, plus 1 tsp to drizzle at the end (Note: I used only about 1/8 cup of ouzo, which added just a nice hint, and might try a little more next time; and I did not drizzle the extra tsp at the end)
- 300 g. frozen tart cherries
- 4 tbsp lemon juice (Note: I used just 2)
- 3 tbsp (20 g) slivered or crushed pistachios (Note: I completely forgot to sprinkle these on but didn’t miss them — I’ll try them next time!)
- In a small bowl, combine the milk and the powdered gelatin, stir, and let sit until the granules swell, about 3 minutes (stirring occasionally).
- Pour the cream and milk (with gelatin powder) into a small saucepan and add a scant 1/2 cup (90 g) of the sugar, the vanilla pod and half its seeds, and the orange zest. Place over medium heat, bring to a simmer (just starting to steam, do not let it boil) and remove immediately from the heat. Remove the vanilla pod and rinse it well.
- Put the yogurt in a mixing bowl and whisk constantly as you pour in the hot milk and cream in a slow stream.
- Pour the mixture into four 2/3-cup (150 ml) individual bowls or ramekins (Note: I oiled the bowls lightly with coconut oil), cover with wrap and let them set in the fridge for at least 5 hours or overnight.
- To prepare the poached cherry sauce, put the water, ouzo, rinsed vanilla pod, and the remaining vanilla seeds and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the cherries (still frozen or slightly thawed). Simmer gently for 8 to 12 minutes; remove from heat and leave to cool down in the pan.
- Once cool, stir in the lemon juice (I found 2 tbsp just right).
- When ready to serve, dip the bowls/ramekins in a bowl of hot water for a minute or two to assist in tipping out the puddings. Turn them over onto individual serving plates. You may need to shake the molds gently; don’t worry, the puddings will come out eventually (Note: I also ran a warm knife around the edge of the pudding to loosen them). Once out, arrange the cherries and some of the syrup around the puddings, and spoon more syrup over them.
- Optional: drizzle a bit of ouzo over the puddings and sprinkle with the pistachios. (I intentionally skipped the extra drizzle of liquor and completely forgot to sprinkle the pistachios, but they were phenomenal still).