You can’t beat the taste of homemade yogurt. Its sweetish, grainy and rich. Something, which you are supposed to fall in love with. Eating yogurt is soul satisfying for me- it caters to the senses in the most pure & luscious way. There is something so addictive about the homemade version that I can eat it plain without a speck of salt or sugar. In India, the concept of readymade yogurt or starters/ probiotic cultures & stuff hit the grocery stores only a few years back. Till date, a popular way to get good quality yogurt is from the mithai (sweet) shops – it comes really close to home taste. Still, in most of the Indian families, including mine, yogurt is only bought from outside when there is a dire need to do so. Else, we Indians have all the patience in the world to make our own, at home.
One of my very fond memory of childhood is to eat a big bowl of dahi (yogurt) with lots of seasonal fruits & honey after every meal. We used to have this large, round earthen bowl in which my grandma made yogurt every night. Before going to sleep, her usual regime was to warm up the milk, dip her finger in there to check the temperature, mix it up with a starter from previous day, wrap up the bowl in a old woollen & set aside to set overnight. Everything was plain impulse and approximation – no thermometers or modern gadgets…as inexact as it can get. Nonetheless, her yogurt came out perfect each morning – ethereal white, milky sweet with a tangy note & thick. She said that the earthen pot sucks away the sourness as the bacteria play with the milk overnight. It didn’t make much sense to a 10 year old then.Only when I learnt science, I understood the fundamental about how & what difference an earthen bowl makes. Rarely, I saw her getting irked when her yogurt did not set in the morning ,we were then kicked out of the house with little bowls to get the starters from neighbors or nearby sweet shop.
Having lived on the homemade version half of my life, I never quite liked the gooey, gelatinous, slimy store bought versions. I understand smooth texture but I don’t understand lack of texture! I have my own theories that few of the brands have loads of cornstarch mixed along with emulsifiers & stabilizers. Even though, mostly I make my batch at home but if you should buy, try organic yogurt. Okay, I m not dumping my great ideas about organic milk products on you, but if you are a lazy bum like me at times, organic is certainly the way to go. The day, I discovered my favorite brand at Whole foods, my aversions about store bought yogurt were gone forever.
They say that true happiness lies in simplicity,this mousse highlights that simplicity. This virtually guilt free mousse is a fluffy bundle of joy.It is so airy that you wont realize you are eating a dessert. Such healthy desserts are always delightful – aren’t they? You bet, especially in this hot Vegas weather where the temperatures are still in the hundreds.Not only savory, I am crazy about spices and herbs even in desserts. You may find rosemary intriguing at first in a dessert, wait till you try it, come back & tell me what you feel. The touch of minced rosemary accentuates the feeling of comfort with an added aroma in each bite. Infact, P said that rosemary was the best part about the dessert and called it an “Aromatherapy dessert” Whatever! :) I topped it with a simple mush of fresh berries mixed with lemon juice & sugar. The extra tang from lemon in the topping adds in a layer of flavor. No cooking, No oven, No grill- Just you and the whisk. Top it up with whatever fruit or nuts you are crazy about- I tell you, even chocolate will work wonders.
For the Yogurt Mousse :- [Makes 4 servings]
- 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt (just take care that the yogurt is not very sour)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar (or to taste)
- 1.5 tbsp minced rosemary (adjust to preference)
- Less than 1/8 tsp of salt
- 1/2 cup each blackberries & raspberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tbsp of fresh lemon juice (avoid if you berries are very tart)
- Sugar to taste
- In a small bowl, thoroughly mix yogurt with minced rosemary & salt.
- Tie the yogurt in a clean muslin/cheesecloth.Set the tied cloth on a sieve with a bowl placed below it and let the yogurt sit refrigerated for 4 hours.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside to bloom.
- In a large bowl, tip in the yogurt and whisk it for 3-5 minutes to fluff it up.Set aside.
- In another bowl, with a hand beater/electric mixer start whipping up the cream.While whisking, add sugar in parts to the cream till you get stiff peaks.Set aside.
- Heat the bloomed gelatin in the microwave for 10 seconds. If you do not have microwave, you can use a double boiler to melt the gelatin.
- Immediately, pour the melted gelatin over the yogurt and whisk thoroughly to mix.
- Very gently, fold in the whipped cream with the yogurt until everything has combined well. The mix will be thick and fluffy.
- Spoon the yogurt mix in bowls or glasses and place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours to set.
- For the topping:- In separate bowls, add berries with lemon juice and sugar. Mush them with a spoon or masher to desired consistency.Top the set mousse with this berry mash and serve chilled.
- You can increase the quantity of heavy cream and reduce equivalent quantity of yogurt from above depending on how rich you want your mousse.
- If using greek yogurt, since it is already quite thick & sour, reduce the straining time in the refrigerator by half.
- Use your mortar & pestle to mince rosemary leaves- add few drops of water if needed as you mince.You can chop them really fine too.