The frozen yogurt craze of 2008 hit us hard. I’m referring to the Pinkberry and Red Mango era. While TCBY and Tasti D-lite were good for their time, they could never hold a candle to the faux-healthy yogurt treats that followed them. When a Pinkberry opened up right around the corner from our apartment we lost all control.
Every single night that summer one of us would stop off at the store on our way home to buy two servings. Small, which evolved into a medium, original flavor with chocolate, banana, and coconut for me. Large chocolate with strawberries for Gus. On some extra-special nights both of us would pick up dessert and then whoops! – we would have four bowls between us. Everyone who worked at the store knew our names. Well, more specifically they thought we were both named Sam. A cheery chorus of “Hey, Sam!!” would echo when either one of us (or both of us) entered the place. The mistake made me giggle and never felt important enough to correct. Pinkberry was our version Cheers.
Then a heatwave struck the city. Hopelessly cheap, I've always loathed turning on the air conditioner. I prefer earthier solutions like spritz bottles, ice, and fans. That summer I realized that Pinkberry could also be a part of the cooling cause. I started skipping sensible meals entirely and eating only Pinkberry for lunches and dinners. Cold, creamy yogurt went down easier in that weather. And it felt sort of healthy. Just like yogurt and fruit. Slippery slope, my friends. Slippery slope. I most certainly overdid it.
Thankfully, the craze is over. By last summer, when Gus brought Pinkberry home, I found that I had completely lost my taste for it. Too much of a good thing. And now, the store by our house has gone out of business. Apparently I’m not the only one who lost interest. But those frozen yogurt dinners of years ago did give me a good idea. We need more meals suited for hot weather. We already have salad. What’s next? I think it’s time for frozen breakfast on a stick. These parfait pops are just the thing.
Parfait Pops with Vanilla Custard, Granola, and Raspberries
If you like bircher muesli, you're going to love these. The granola turns delightfully chewy in the custard. A parfait pop would make a lovely summer brunch treat.
If you can find them, do use freeze-dried raspberries in these pops. Instead of turning icy, as fresh raspberries tend to do, the freeze-dried fruit hydrates nicely and becomes the perfect, soft and tangy version of its former self.
I tried to create distinct layers by freezing the granola and custard in stages. As you can see, it only sort of worked. You can decide for yourself whether the extra effort is worth it.
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
11/2 cups heavy cream
1 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
3/4 cup granola
1/4 cup freeze-dried raspberries, crushed
1. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large liquid measuring cup. Have ready ten 3-ounce ice pop molds and ten ice-pop sticks.
2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Gradually whisk in the cream and milk until smooth. Stir in the vanilla bean and seeds. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until just thick enough to coat back of a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes. If you can draw a clear line through the mixture on the back of a wooden spoon that holds, it’s done. Strain the mixture through the sieve into the cup.
3. Divide the granola and raspberries evenly between the pop molds. Then divide the custard evenly between them. Replace the top of the mold and add the stick. Freeze until solid, at least 8 to 12 hours.