Monday, June 6, 2011

You Can Make It Yourself! Fruit-on-the-Bottom Yogurt

I always resent those sanctimonious “Your Money” articles that local papers periodically run, telling you that you could save ever so much bank if you would just, say, make your coffee at home every morning. As if forgoing that $1.50 large with half-and-half at the bodega is really going to solve all your budgetary woes? Listen, all New Yorkers are pretty much financially screwed to varying degrees—so let us have a little indulgence like a damn cup of deli coffee on the way to work without feeling guilty about it!

That said, there are some really overpriced food items 9-to-5-ers get suckered into buying o’er on the dreaded isle o’ Manhattan, that I do believe you’re better off prepping and schlepping. Case in point: those stupid yogurt cups with fruit and granola that cost, like, $3.50 in the refrigerator cases of your fancier midtown delis. How hard is it to buy a quart of yogurt, a pint or two of berries, and a box of granola for the week, and combine into individual servings in Tupperware the night before work?

And if, like me, you enjoy taking a fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt cup as your morning repast, you’re looking at probably upwards of $1 a pop…not to mention whatever additives, preservatives, and sweeteners. If you make a batch of fruit sauce at home and buy a quart of yogurt at the supermarket, you’ll have a few days’ worth of healthy morning or afternoon snacks for less money (and not much time), and you’ll know what you’re eating.

This is a great way to use blueberries that are a little past the peak of ripeness. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and sliced peaches would all work in lieu of or in addition to blueberries. But if you have really fresh fruit straight from the farmstand, you might just want to enjoy it raw with the yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup or agave nectar.

  • Rinse a pint of blueberries and dump it into a small to medium saucepan.
  • Add water and/or red wine to the pan until the berries are just covered.
  • Add a pinch of salt (sounds counterintuitive, but salt brings out sweetness).
  • Optionally, add a stick of cinnamon, a swath of lemon rind, or a dried bay leaf.
  • Turn the burner on to high, bring the mix to a boil, and then lower heat to medium-low and let it simmer. The berries will expand and absorb the liquid.
  • When the liquid has cooked down about halfway (use the color stain on the side of the pot—temporary!—as your guide), add 2 TBSP sweetener: I’ve been into agave nectar lately, but you could do maple syrup or, in a pinch, brown or white sugar.
  • Lower the heat and let the fruit mix cook down a bit more. Taste and add more sweetener if needed. You want it to be somewhat viscous/syrupy, but remember that when it cools it will become more so, and you don’t want it to get too sticky and jelly-like. Take it off the heat and let it rest for a few, then test it on a wooden spoon for a fruit-on-the-bottom-y thickness of consistency. Return to heat and cook more if needed.
  • After achieving your desired consistency and allowing the sauce to cool, layer it with plain or vanilla yogurt (personally, I think vanilla yogurt is disgusting, but that’s all on you) and, if desired, granola or lightly toasted nuts—either in parfait dishes to be pretty for a brunch or in a Tupperware container to bring to work. Oh, I bet this would be good to pack in kids’ school lunches, assuming you used all water and no wine.

Alternately, you could serve it slightly warm drizzled over vanilla ice cream, pound cake or shortcake. Or fill a muffin tin with batter, then add a dollop of fruit sauce to the top of each muffin cup, for souped-up blueberry muffins.

Other ideas on how this sauce could be used, or what other fruits might work in it? Leave them in the comments, please!


  1. i really need to try this agave nectar thing.

  2. Dude. It's the shit that goes into tequila, but it's like sugar. Hell YEAH you need to try it. (Really it tastes nothing like tequila... but it's a shit-ton cheaper than honey or maple syrup and seems to me to seamlessly sub for them.)

  3. i like to use plain yogurt and if i am out of granola, i just put some jam or jelly in it. it's like fruit yogurt, but i still get that sour-y taste of the plain yogurt that i like.