Jeni’s lemon buttermilk tart frozen yogurt

Light and refreshing, this copycat of Jeni’s lemon buttermilk tart frozen yogurt is sure to please all lemon fans. Infused with lemon syrup, the buttermilk frozen yogurt is swirled with fresh lemon curd and crunchy shortbread crust. It’s like a lemon tart in frozen yogurt form!

Boy, do I love a challenge.

My former manager, N, is a huge fan of lemon. She and her husband have a monthly subscription to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. One of the flavors that they received this month was a lemon buttermilk tart frozen yogurt. N asked me if I could recreate it.

I looked everywhere online, and because this is a brand new seasonal flavor, there wasn’t a recipe readily available. I asked friends who owned Jeni’s cookbook to see if there was a recipe for lemon frozen yogurt or any type of buttermilk frozen yogurt. My friends said that there was a lemon frozen yogurt recipe in Jeni’s cookbook but it wasn’t for the buttermilk frozen yogurt. Bummer.

I eventually decided to create my own version of Jeni’s lemon buttermilk tart frozen yogurt. I adapted a buttermilk frozen yogurt recipe I found online and then used Jeni’s recipes for lemon syrup and lemon curd. When N said that the frozen concoction also contained sweet shortbread crusts, I found a recipe for that too.

The resulting frozen yogurt is exactly how I pictured it. The lemon syrup infused in the lemon buttermilk base gives it a bit of tartness that I expected. Swirls of lemon curd add bursts of tartness and a nice textural contrast. And the crisp chunks of shortbread crusts really tie it all together to make the frozen yogurt taste like a fresh lemon tart.

N, I hope that I was able to successfully able to recreate this frozen yogurt for you and your husband. Even if I didn’t, it still tasted pretty dang good.

Jeni's lemon buttermilk tart frozen yogurt

Light and refreshing, this copycat of Jeni's lemon buttermilk tart frozen yogurt is sure to please all lemon fans. 
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Chilling time10 hours
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Ice Cream
Servings: 1 quart
Author: Eva Bakes


Frozen yogurt base

  • 1 quart plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 ounces (4 Tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • Zest of 1 lemon use a knife to make large pieces of zest so you can strain it easily

Lemon curd

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 Tablespoon corn starch
  • Slightly under 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Slightly under 1/2 cup lemon juice from about 1 lemon
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into cubes

Lemon syrup

  • 2-3 lemons
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar


  • 1/4 stick butter softened
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup confectioner’s sugar


Do ahead

  • Add two layers of cheesecloth on top of a fine mesh sieve. Place the sieve over a large bowl and cover. Strain the yogurt over the bowl up to 8 hours or overnight.
  • Reserve 1 and 1/4 cups of the strained yogurt, add the buttermilk and set aside.

Make the lemon curd (make ahead)

  • In a medium saucepan, mix together the egg yolks and corn starch until completely smooth. Add the sugar, zest and juice until everything is well blended. Turn the stove on medium-high heat. Constantly stir until the mixer simmers (about 7-10 minutes). Let it keep simmering for about 45 seconds. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the butter one cube at a time. Whisk until smooth. Chill the curd in the refrigerator until cool, about 2 hours, until ready to use.

Make the lemon syrup

  • In a small saucepan, squeeze the lemons to make 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Add the sugar and boil on medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool and set aside.

Make the yogurt base

  • In a small bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry. Set this aside.
  • In a large bowl, break apart the cream cheese and mix it until it is smooth. Set a fine mesh sieve above it and set aside.
  • In a medium sized saucepan, heat the cream, remaining milk, sugar, corn syrup and lemon zest on medium to medium-high heat until boiling. Allow the mixture to boil for 4 minutes.
  • Take the saucepan off the stove and very carefully add the cornstarch/milk slurry. Mix until everything is well incorporated and put the pan back on the stove. Allow the mixture to come back to a boil and until the liquid becomes slightly thicker, about 1 minute.
  • Turn off the stove and pour the liquid through the sieve into the large bowl with the cream cheese. Strain out the lemon zest and discard. Add the buttermilk mixture and lemon syrup and mix well until everything is fully incorporated.
  • At this point, you have two options. You can either set the frozen yogurt base over an ice bath (pour the contents into a large zip-top bag, seal it shut and place it over a large bowl with ice cubes), or put it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  • Once the mixture is completely cool, churn it in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's directions.

Make the shortbread

  • Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until a soft dough forms. Add more flour if needed. Roll into a rectangle and cut into 1/4" to 1/2" pieces. Bake in a 350F degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden. Allow the crust to cool.

Assemble the frozen yogurt

  • Alternate layering the frozen yogurt base, lemon curd and shortbread pieces in a freezer-safe container. Freeze until hardened, at least 4 hour or overnight.


Sources: Inspired by N; Frozen yogurt base adapted from The Post and Courier; lemon syrup from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home; lemon curd from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts; shortbread from Add a Pinch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating