Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Softly Served

Frozen yogurtDSC_0892

Soft serve ice cream holds nostalgic Summer time memories for me. My late mother used to take me to the basement of the department store after shopping in town and she bought me a cone and left me there while she looked for ready made food for supper. The basement of a department store is now called depachika (デパ地下). These modern day depachika are bright and dedicated entire floor with all sorts of foods and drinks, no comparison to my childhood of shabby place with poor selections. Many stores deeply discount their food after 6 PM. When I go to Japan alone and if I don’t particularly want to go to a restaurant then I pick up something after 6 at depachika. Only problem is so many choices! Overwhelmed with selections but joyful. My mother magically showed up when I finished eating and no one questioned her risky move of leaving an adorable (?) 5 year-old by themselves. It was the norm those days, I on the other hand, often questioned and disapproved of her purchases. What? It’s all nimono (cooked vegetables) and no sweets? Not even my favorite croquette?  But she never once asked me for my opinion. Ever!

This lovable, inexpensive smooth textured ice cream was one of my favorite Summer treats after shaved ice. Japanese simply call it soft cream. If I wanted soft cream here I just went to Dairy Queen but they moved further away to another town some 10 years ago. Too bad, I liked their peanut buster parfait. I usually chose to whack my craving rather than a 15 to 20 minutes drive to calm it. Baskin Robin is also a good alternative.

Lately I see lots of yogurt shops popping up and many are self serve. Our city has already THREE self serve yogurt shops. Though I visited all three I wasn’t wowed by any of them. Red Mango yogurt shop in Provo Utah is not self serve but has great yogurt. This is popular as a BYU student hang out place. But oh boy! After adding toppings it is not so cheap.

Ingredients for 4-5 conesDSC_0871

  • Powdered gelatin 10g
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Heavy cream 200ml
  • Sugar 70g
  • Plain yogurt 350g
  • Milk 50ml
  • Ice cream cone
  1. Pure water In a small microwave safe cup then sprinkle in gelatin, stir and dissolve. Microwave for 50 seconds with 50% power. Set it asideDSC_0872
  2. Put cream and sugar in bowl of stand mixer and whip till very soft peak
  3. In a medium bowl mix yogurt and milk then add to heavy cream mixture.
  4. Add gelatin mixture to yogurt/cream mixture and mix well.
  5. Put in the freezer plastic freezer bag and seal tight. Put it in the freezer for 30 minutes.DSC_0875
  6. Take it out from the freezer and squeeze until soft again
  7. Put it back in the freezer and freeze for 1 hour.DSC_0878
  8. Take it out  2nd time from freezer and knead till smooth. Use a cloth if it is too cold to handle DSC_0879
  9. Put it in a pastry bag with large (any) tip.
  10. Pipe out in a cone cup and top with your favorite toppings (optional).

DSC_0886I used a cup to hold the cone while I filled it.

I wasn’t wowed by this version of frozen yogurt either but it was fun to make and with different toppings, it could be a awesome treat. DSC_0900

I wish I had a cherry to top it off for the shot. Cone is fun and old fashioned but messy, I brought out the mop to sweep out whatever fell on the floor. I’ll use bowl next time.DSC_0894

My guys (my husband and my son) are doing volunteer clean up job in Iwate (one of March earthquake disaster area) Japan right now. They are grateful for the opportunity to help out some, still the recovery from the earthquake is long road ahead. がんばれ日本!

My life is getting quite weird without them. I don’t cook much. I eat whatever and whenever. I started organizing my pantry in the middle of one sleepless night, labeling every containers, discovering the forgotten and expired foods. Some mystery ingredients (I’m a fan of Chopped-The Food Network Channel show), I can’t figure out why I bought them but until I solve the mystery, I put it back in a corner of the pantry. Anyway, I plan to clean up and organize my whole house while they are gone then wait for their return to mess it up again. Perfectly clean house is nice but without my guys in it is not a perfect house for me. So I’m with busy cleaning up but not cooking, I decided to take some break from blogging. Please check back with me in the middle of September. I’m always browsing your blogs, sometime way late at night. No one here to stop my bit odd behavior makes me lonely though.


  1. Would you please tell them to hurry up and come home!

  2. As always, I love your photography. Can I ask a question? How do you take a picture with your two hands in the photo?

  3. かわいい!I don't bake, so I don't even own the tip to make it nice on the soft cream....but I bet homemade one is the best! I wish we have デパ地下 around here and my life would be so much easier with all the delicious precooked food!

  4. Those look like the perfect summer dessert!

  5. I think Japan has some of the best soft serve ice-cream, I think it has a higher fat consistency, actually my favorite is from a combini Mini-Stop.. "giggles"

  6. Hi Bijinsan!

    We are still alive and well over here. Can`t wait to get back so that the house is not so clean that you have a hard time sleeping.

    Ganbatte kudasai.

  7. Does all soft serve have gelatin in it? I am a vegetarian, and gelatin is, well, we won't go there.

  8. HI Emily, How is your life in Utah? Miss you.

    Dear Jalna, Thank you. I had a help. It's not a very good picture but I thought I have to include in the blog to explain the process. I also remote control but I don't really know how to operate it.

  9. Ahhh, thank you for your explanation. I'm not a good cook or baker, so I really appreciate your efforts to show the steps in making your awesome dishes.

  10. 日本人が作る繊細な出来上がりですね!!


  11. なみちゃん、そうそう。デパ地下があれば、人生楽だよね。いくらフードブログしてるからって、いつも食事作りたいとは思わないし。 コメントありがとう。

    Dear Chocolate shaving, Thank you for your comment. I like to make your watermelon juice soon!

  12. Elle Marie, I agree with you that Japan has the best soft cream in the world! I wish I'm in Japan right now. I really miss konbini and depachika. Thank you so much for your comment.

    Lydia, I'm not sure all soft serve ice cream have gelatine in it but can you use agar agar powder instead? Thanks for your comment.

  13. Kurk, I hope you have wonderful rest of your vacation! Don't forget my list of things to buy and be safe.
    Love you.


  14. Hi from Kyoto! Got most of your stuff. See you soon.


  15. This is a perfect summer dessert. This is my fisr visit to your blog, so based on this recipe I decided to take some extra time and browse through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary