Frozen Blueberry Labneh Swirl Bars are gluten-free, creamy-tart bars on a pistachio crust. Ice cream maker optional!
As big and crowd-worthy as our recent giant cherry slab pie was, these frozen blueberry yogurt swirl bars are about as small as you can get, pan-wise.
They’re in an 8×8, which I rarely use. We’re so often for the group, the family that even when nobody is planned to come, I’m usually making more. Just in case.
There’s a kind of conflict I feel in the 8×8—here it signals that many of my people have gone, the 20 of us or more at a dinner that would warrant a sheet pan of a slab pie. The 8 x 8 hurts because, plain and simple, I miss them soooo.
Then, once Aunt Maureen shakes it off, she remembers that she can appreciate the spaces where there is quiet, where she can think about stories and make plans for the future, and yes, where she can throw together dinner for one or two on a whim out of whatever.
Even though dessert is for company, and the company of our family is always ALWAYS for dessert (more than once a day), I still enjoy making a little something special that is indeed, little.
You’d think my 8×8 made enough for a single eater by the way I see it. It does not. Here we have enough for more than three, we have enough for doubles for four or five. So while the size of pan feels small to me, what it yields will not feel small to you.
And oh what deliciousness it does yield! Frozen yogurt is tops on my list for the tang-factor, a sourness I love in just about everything. We have to add sugar, even a touch of corn syrup, to be certain the frozen labneh will have a creamy texture rather than an icy one. The higher fat and thickness of the labneh (or Greek yogurt) rather than yogurt and a hit of cream cheese are also key.
But enter the all-important blueberry swirl, which is jazzed up with a good squeeze of lime, and we’re back in the sweet-and-sour territory that “mouthwatering” is made of.
We’re using an ice cream maker again for ice-creamy texture, but if you don’t have one, you can simply pour the filling over the crust and freeze like that, knowing though that the texture may be a little icier.
Also keep in mind, any of us could double the recipe to make a larger pan. Just in case.
Frozen Blueberry Labneh Swirl Bars
A swirl of blueberry sauce in creamy, full-fat labneh or Greek yogurt (these thickened yogurts are key here; less water), makes the sweet-tart flavor of these frozen bars. For the crust, substitute any ground nut you like. The ice cream maker is optional, but the texture of the finished bars will be icier than if the labneh base is churned. Corn syrup is very useful in creating a creamy texture.
For the blueberry swirl:
- 1 cup blueberries
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
For the labneh base:
- 1 cup full-fat labneh or Greek yogurt, cold
- 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (or honey)
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- Zest of 1 lime
Make the crust:
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8x8 pan with a parchment sling, with parchment overhang.
In a small bowl, combine the ground pistachios and the olive oil. Spread over the parchment=-lined bottom of the pan. A small offset knife helps here.
Bake the crust for 8 minutes. Cool completely.
Make the blueberry swirl:
In a small saucepan, combine the blueberries, lime juice, and sugar over medium heat. Break up the blueberries with a potato masher, and stir until simmering. If the blueberries aren't mashed, they will be icy when frozen.
Stir in the corn starch and continue to simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened. Cool completely. Placing the pot in an ice bath with speed the cooling process up if needed.
Make the labneh base and assemble:
Whisk the labneh, cream cheese, corn syrup, sugar, salt, and lime zest until smooth.
If using, churn the labneh mixture in an ice cream maker according the manufacturer's instructions, until frozen like soft-serve.
Transfer the frozen labneh (or the whisked labneh if you didn't run it through an ice cream maker) and the blueberry swirl to a medium bowl. Gently fold the two together, leaving streaks of labneh (some will be more like lumps if the labneh was churned; this is fine).
Pour the labneh-blueberry swirl over the pistachio crust. Freeze for at least 3 hours and up to one week. Cut into squares and serve immediately.