Last week I went to dinner with friends who, having returned from London, told me about an amazing smoked yogurt ice cream they had at a restaurant, and it intrigued me quite a bit. So I got right to work and did some research on possible pairings to get a sophisticated and intriguing dessert!

As always, especially when it comes to non-trivial recipes (I hope you can say that about most of my recipes), I like to take you along with me on the journey of constructing the dish. I take this opportunity to remind you that on March 20 we will be doing this kind of live “exercise” in an interactive (and free) webinar, if you want to spend the evening with us, don’t miss it (but it’s gonna be in italian)!

Smoked yogurt pairings

Let’s start with the star flavor: smoked yogurt. Let’s see later in the article how you can give it a smoky taste, but first let’s think about how to pair it to have a dish balanced in flavors and textures. Strong flavors are definitely needed since smoke is not exactly a flavor that goes by the wayside easily. I list a few options, emphasizing what interests me 😉

  1. Honey and nuts: Honey, with its natural sweetness and complexity, can enhance the smoky notes, while roasted nuts (such as pecans or almonds) can add a pleasant contrast of texture and an earthy flavor that goes well with smoking.
  2. Salted caramel: Pairing salted caramel with smoked yogurt ice cream can create a perfect balance of sweet, salty and smoky, offering a multidimensional taste experience.
  3. Sweet spices: Spices such as cinnamon, cardamom or vanilla can integrate well with the flavor profile of smoked yogurt, adding depth and warmth to the ice cream.
  4. Chocolate: Pairing with chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can create an intriguing contrast between the sweet bitterness of chocolate and the slight acidity and smokiness of yogurt.
  5. Cookies and crunch: Crumbled cookies, crumbles or tuiles can add a crunchy element that contrasts nicely with the creaminess of the ice cream.
  6. Fruit sauces and coulis: a red fruit sauce or coulis of mango or other tropical fruits can offer a contrast of flavor and color, increasing the complexity of the dish. I have already taken advantage of this option in this recipe – Greek yogurt ice cream variegated with passion fruit with caramelized granola – so we are ignoring it today 😉

Combining these elements, I opt for almonds, first spiced with curry and tonka bean and then roasted in a pan to accentuate the flavors. Tonka beans are known for their rich and complex scent, with notes reminiscent of vanilla, almond, cinnamon, and clove. I am looking forward to the tonka beans because they can add a level of depth and mystery to our dessert.

To give it a yummy touch and an interesting twist, I opt for a salted caramel stretched with more cream to leave it more liquid so it can be used from the bottle directly on the ice cream quenelle.

In my head the dessert already makes sense before I even try to make it …in fact I am writing the article as the mixture matures!

How to smoke an ice cream?

To smoke an ice cream you have several ways. You may

  1. Smoke a fatty ingredient that you need to use in the recipe (e.g., cream)
  2. smoke the whole mixture
  3. add liquid smoke, which has the advantage of being able to taste by adding a little at a time, but the color of the ice cream may be affected if it is clear in base (liquid smoke has a dark amber color)

I opted for number 2, smoking my mixture for 2-3 minutes by burning dried fermented black garlic peels, hoping it would give a more complex smoke.

Recipe (for 10 people)

Smoked Greek yogurt ice cream
  • 215 g of Whole Milk
  • 110 g of cream 35%
  • 18 g of Low-Fat Milk Powder
  • 266 g of Greek yogurt
  • 2.3 g of Neutral Locust bean/Guar Cream
  • 89 g of Sucrose
  • 48 g of Dextrose
Salted caramel (more liquid version)
  • 50 g of sugar
  • 5 g water
  • 75 g of whole cream
  • 45 g of butter
  • 1.5 g of salt
Spiced almonds
  • 100 g almonds (unsalted, not roasted with skin on)
  • 1 g madras curry
  • 2 g of salt
  • 15 g sugar
  • 0.5 g tonka bean


For the Greek yogurt ice cream

Weigh all the powders and combine them in a bowl.

Heat the milk in a saucepan and add the cream around 30°C.

Bring the mixture to about 40 degrees, the ideal temperature for adding the powders (mixing well or blending with an immersion blender).

Bring the mixture to 85 degrees and hold it at this temperature for 2 minutes to pasteurize and let the hot neutral act.

Cool the mixture quickly to positive temperature using ice and water, a blast chiller or simply in cold running water.

Smoke the mixture for between 1 minute (for mild taste) and 7 minutes (very strong taste). I recommend 2 minutes, since this is a dessert and we want the smokiness not to be too prominent, risking becoming annoying.

Transfer the smoked mixture to the refrigerator to ripen for 6 to 8 hours.

Add the Greek yogurt, stir with a spoon, and then freeze in the ice cream maker for as long as needed.

For the salted caramel

Caramelise the sugar with a drop of water without touching it.

Meanwhile, heat the cream and add it to the caramelized sugar a little at a time, stirring well until the caramel is smooth again.

Remove from heat, add butter and salt, and stir well.

Pour into a cooking bottle and let cool under running water, then store in a cool place until serving.

For the toasted spiced almonds

Chop the almonds with a knife and toast them in a pan with the spices for 5 minutes, sautéing them so as not to burn them.

Add the sugar and salt and caramelize for another minute or two and remove from heat, place in a bowl and store at room temperature in a dry place until serving.


Let’s go and put a spoonful of crunch (the spiced almonds) in the bottom of a soup plate or bowl.

Now we lay a quenelle on top of the crispy part.

We finish the dish with caramel, passing it from one side of the quenelle to the other, achieving a streaky and very yummy effect!

Did you like this recipe?

If you prefer to create something similar on your own, checkout my Gelato Ice Cream Balancer software, BilanciaLi Gold, just issued also in English!

If you prefer to get recipes “out of the box”, you can get hundreds of them in the Gelato Project, my ever-evolving ice cream book. Find out how to download it!

how does gelato project work and how do I get my requests to be published in the next iteration
Andrea Rapanaro
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