Scooped: Actually Good Frozen Yogurt with Roasted Cherry Compote Recipe

Ethan Frisch

Note: I scream you scream we all scream for...this new column! You already know Max Falkowitz from his spice column here—he's joined forces with Ethan Frisch of the Guerrilla Ice Cream cart, a mobile NYC-based ice cream business, to create frozen dessert recipes for us every week through the end of the summer. And now, we pass the spoon to Ethan and Max! —The Mgmt.

Fro-yo has gotten a bad rap of late, considered behind the times, defunct, and passé. But when stripped down to its essentials, it's a fresh and surprisingly complex change from heavier ice creams. Unlike those leaden with eggs and other flavorings, this uncooked ice cream shows off all the nuances of quality dairy. It's also the perfect marriage of ancient bacteria cultivation and modern ice cream-freezing technology. Yogurt from your local PinkMangoRedBerry outlet simply doesn't compare to the stuff you can make at home. This version has only two ingredients, and making it happens so quickly, you'll worry you missed a step.

A good frozen yogurt is like a good white wine—tart, refreshing, and of course, cold. And like a nice white wine, frozen yogurt is great on its own and paired with all kinds of delicious things: fruit, nuts, and pretty much any sauce or syrup you can imagine. The Guerrilla Ice Cream cart serves Lebanese-style fro-yo with halawah and pomegranate molasses, but here we decided to take advantage of the fantastic cherries that are the first hallmark of the summer harvest.

Roasting cherries whole has a couple of advantages. First, they make less of a mess. Second, the pits impart a subtle almond flavor that pairs perfectly with fruit. Roasted cherries make a rich, luscious sauce, brightened here by lemon zest and intensified with cherry liqueur and toasted spices. The compote has an almost wintry feel, and we think a home-preserved batch would make a great alternative to cranberry sauce come Thanksgiving. We also added some fresh cherries at the end to lighten the sauce and provide some textural contrast.

Max Falkowitz writes Serious Eats' weekly Spice Hunting column. He's a proud native of Queens, New York, will do just about anything for a good cup of tea, and enjoys long walks down the aisles of Chinese groceries.

Recipe Facts

Active: 40 mins
Total: 60 mins
Makes: 1 8 to 10 (cups of compte)

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  • For the frozen yogurt
  • 1 quart plain whole milk yogurt (not Greek), store-bought or homemade
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • For the roasted cherry compote
  • 5 1/2 cups of plump, ripe cherries, stems removed, divided
  • 3 tablespoons of turbinado (raw) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of maraschino liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon of allspice berries, toasted and ground
  • 1 small piece of star anise, toasted and ground
  • 3 cloves, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly ground
  • Zest of one lemon


  1. For the frozen yogurt

  2. Whisk yogurt with sugar until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.

  3. Pour the yogurt into ice cream machine and spin according to machine's instructions.

  4. For a soft-serve consistency, serve right away. Or scoop it into a container and let it harden in the freezer for a couple of hours. Serve with Roasted Cherry Compote (or other topping of your choice) and dig in!

  5. For the roasted cherry compote

  6. Heat the oven to 450°F. Put all but one cup of the cherries in a 12-inch sauté pan (or any other stovetop to oven vessel with high sides), keeping them in one layer. Toss the cherries with the turbinado sugar and a pinch of salt. While the oven is heating, slice the remaining cup of cherries in half and remove the pits. Set them aside.

  7. Roast the cherries for about half an hour, tossing now and then, or until they are very tender and amber bubbles stack on top of each other. The cherry juices will have concentrated into a rich, dark syrup. After 20 minutes keep an eye on them, as they can burn easily.

  8. Remove the pan from the oven. Deglaze with the maraschino, then set it aside to cool a bit. When you can just handle the cherries, slice them in half and remove the pits. Add them back to the pan.

  9. Return the pan to medium heat and add the spices, lemon zest, and reserved pitted cherries. Simmer for about ten minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Serve immediately or at room temperature.