If you’re like me and crave ice cream year ’round and this will have you licking your monitor… Oh yum!!
Oh yes I did. I walked past the bagged Key limes in the grocery store last weeks and all I could think about was key lime pie. Key lime pie. I’ve always made Key lime pie with regular limes – hence it was regular lime pie. When I finally got my grubby paws on Key limes, I didn’t feel like making a pie. I felt like making ice cream. Pie-ce cream?
Key limes are tiny little guys. When I ran them through my automatic juicer, I had to hold each half down with two thumbs and two index fingers so they wouldn’t spin away under my palm. Key limes will vary in size, but if you plan to do this, get at least a dozen. Of course, it’s perfectly fine to use regular limes. I’m guessing four average-sized limes would suffice.
When the custard is done, cool it down either in an ice bath or in the refrigerator. Once everything is completely chilled, mix it all together. I know that most think of “green” when they think of Key lime pie, but that requires artificial coloring. Feel free to add a few drops of green food coloring if that’s your aesthetic goal. I prefer to let mine be its natural pale yellow. Also, the organic cane sugar that I use is a slightly golden color. Yellow it is!
Run the custard through your ice cream maker until it reaches soft-serve consistency. My ice cream canister was nearly overflowing when the ice cream was done (water expands when it becomes ice on the Earth’s surface). I scooped it all out into a large bowl and mixed in the crushed graham crackers. You might be tempted to mix in graham cracker crumbs, but I think that the texture is too fine and sandy. My aim was for chunks of graham cracker to simulate the pie crust. When it’s mixed in, place it in the freezer to firm up.
It tastes like frozen key lime pie! Of course, the very nature of ice cream makes it more creamy than tart, but this flavor has a decent amount of tartness to it and the zest accentuates the lime. It’s nice and fruity! I like the crunch of the graham cracker bits, so I highly recommend not pulverizing the crackers too enthusiastically. The only thing left is a dollop of whipped cream (which I like on a slice of key lime pie). I realize there is an entire pint of whipping cream in the ice cream, but a little whipped cream for garnish cinches the deal.
Key Lime Pie Ice Cream:
1 tbsp key lime zest (about 4 key limes)
1/2 cup key lime juice (about 12 limes)
3/4 cups sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
4 egg yolks
2 cups cream
1/2 cup graham crackers, crushed
Mix the zest, juice, sugar, and salt together in a bowl. Let sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Heat the milk until it is just boiling. Remove from heat. Whisk a quarter cup of the hot milk into the egg yolks (to temper the yolks). Whisk in a little more. Scrape the yolk-milk mixture back into the rest of the milk and whisk together. Place over medium heat and whisk constantly until the custard has thickened (should coat the back of a spoon). Place the custard on ice or in the refrigerator until it is chilled completely. Mix the sugar-lime mixture, the custard, and the cream together in a large bowl. Churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker according to the ice cream maker instructions. Stir the graham crackers into the soft ice cream. Freeze. Makes about 1.75 quarts.