Why It Works
- True Greek yogurt is strained, making a thick, low-moisture foundation for this dessert.
- A small proportion of cream thickens and aerates the yogurt.
- Ingredients like golden syrup and honey add both flavor and sweetness to the dessert.
When it's too hot to turn on the oven or stand over a stove, your dessert options can really start to dwindle. One of my favorite summertime tricks is to make a batch of whipped Greek yogurt, which is exactly what it sounds like—a cross between airy whipped cream and dense yogurt.
It's a combination that offers the best of both worlds. The tangy Greek yogurt provides some heft to the whipped cream, giving it a consistency that's somewhere between pudding and mousse, while simultaneously cutting through its richness (because, as much as I love whipped cream, I can eat only a few spoonfuls before tapping out). Meanwhile, the whipped cream aerates the heavy yogurt and mellows its acidic bite, transforming it into something more like dessert.
For this recipe, it's important to start with true Greek yogurt, which is strained to reduce its water content. You can make it yourself, or else look for brands that list nothing more than milk and active cultures among the ingredients (my favorite brand is Fage). Brands that include gum, gelatin, or pectin thicken the yogurt artificially rather than through straining, which produces a thick but watery yogurt. Along those same lines, plain yogurt is a no-go as well; in order to whip up light and thick, this recipe requires a low-moisture foundation.
That said, feel free to play with different types of sweeteners. Baked goods may depend on the specific behavior and pH of sugar, but whipped Greek yogurt is amenable to flavorful alternatives like sorghum, maple syrup, honey, or even treacle. My personal favorite is golden syrup, as the rich caramel notes make a perfect counterpoint to the bright, fresh taste of the yogurt. The mixture can also be doctored with vanilla bean seeds or rosewater for a more aromatic approach.
Whatever you choose, the recipe itself is laughably simple: Put all the ingredients in a bowl, and whip until nice and thick.
It can be used right away as a topping, dolloped over French toast and crispy waffles if you're into the breakfast-for-dessert thing, or else refrigerated overnight until it thickens into something like a parfait.
Should you decide to fire up the oven after all, whipped Greek yogurt is also a perfect match for all sorts of baked goods, including angel food cake, blueberry pie, and sour cream pound cake.
On top of that, this is one of my favorite accompaniments for fresh fruits that are too delicate for baking, along with a handful of toasted nuts for a bit of crunch. It's also a solid alternative to ice cream or frozen yogurt, and, buried under my crispy granola, it makes a pretty decadent brunch.
8 ounces plain Greek yogurt (about 1 cup; 225g), any percentage will do (see notes)
6 ounces heavy cream (about 3/4 cup; 170g)
2 ounces golden syrup, sorghum syrup, honey, or maple syrup (about 3 tablespoons; 55g)
1/4 teaspoon rosewater or vanilla extract, or seeds from 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
Pinch of salt
Combine Greek yogurt, cream, sweetener, rosewater or vanilla, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
Mix at low speed to start, then increase to high and whip until mixture is thick and stiff, about 5 minutes. Use immediately as a soft, whipped cream–like topping, or, to serve as a parfait, divide into serving dishes and refrigerate until thickened (roughly to 45°F/7°C).
Avoid Greek yogurt thickened with gum, gelatin, or pectin. Look for brands that contain only milk and active cultures, like Fage. Unstrained yogurts, whether faux Greek or plain, will not whip as light or thick.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 4g||5%|
|Saturated Fat 3g||13%|
|Total Carbohydrate 3g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|