After a hot summer day that involved way too much yard work, my husband and I dined at the bar of a Greek restaurant and got to chat with the owner.
He told us how he learned to speak English when he came to the U.S. (it may have been in the late '60s) by watching television, and how wonderful he thought this country was. He said his family had so little in Greece, but when they came here, they got giveaways with their laundry detergent, a dishtowel or a glass. How could they not prosper in such a place?
The owner treated us to dessert that night, yogurt with honey and berries. He told me that they made their own yogurt, allowing it to drain overnight. This step transforms runny yogurt into a solid that is both light and fluffy. The texture is ethereal.
A scoop of the yogurt was served with a generous drizzle of honey and fresh berries. It was the perfect sweet for a warm night, cool and almost weightless.
I was so taken with this dessert that I researched the Internet the next day and made my own yogurt. The hard part was finding the patience to allow my creation to drain overnight.
I've served yogurt with honey and berries several times since then, but I skip the homemade yogurt and use a large carton of store-bought yogurt as my starting point. (Even if you purchase Greek yogurt, it will still need to drain.)
Some members of my family have questioned whether a chocolate-free dish can really be considered dessert. They make the case that this is more suitable for breakfast. I'll let you decide.
Yogurt with honey and berries
1 quart plain yogurt
½ cup honey
1 pint fresh berries
The day before you plan to serve (or at least eight hours before), line a colander with cheesecloth, white paper towels or coffee filters.
Place the colander over a bowl, and pour yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined colander. Cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigerate overnight. Expect to lose 1/3 to 1/2 of the volume as the whey drains off.
Plate a scoop of the thick yogurt and top with honey and fresh berries. (The amounts listed for honey and berries are just a recommendation; trust your instinct).
Note: Some cooks save the whey to use in bread making or soups. It imparts a tart taste.