Lime Ice Cream

04 Jan 2010, comments

For readers expecting some ruby or rails content, don't worry, I'm not turning this into a food blog. But over the holidays, my thoughts do turn to food.

We had some limes leftover from making Sweet Potato Salad (always spectacular) and Pad Thai (it was good, but we've yet to figure out how to nail this dish), and so yesterday Erin and I decided to experiment with making some lime ice cream. It was a first rate success!

At the outset we weren't sure if a citrus-based ice cream would work. Emily and Erin hadn't had much luck with their experiment making blood orange ice cream, so Erin searched on epicurious.com for evidence of frozen creamy lime deliciousness. She did indeed find a highly rated recipe, but we didn't care for the look of it -- it was one of those 6-egg-yolks-cooked-into-a-custard affairs. I'm sure it would've been good, but we were looking for something easier, and less heart-stopping. I'm not sure where my prized photocopy of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream recipe book ended up after our last move, but I found their basic no-cook french vanilla recipe online with a couple of minutes of googling, and we modified it as follows (taking some quantity cues from the epicurious recipe).

1 C sugar
~1/2 C lime juice (the juice of 3 limes)
2 eggs
3 C thick, light cream (12% fat, comparable to half-and-half)
zest from one lime (optional)

We made a syrup using half the sugar and all of the lime juice. You want to cook this until the sugar is fully dissolved, then bring it to a boil, stirring frequently. After it boils for a few minutes it should be a sort of pale golden color. Then while the syrup cools a bit, whisk the 2 eggs for 1-2 minutes, until they become light and fluffy. Whisking constantly, slowly blend in the remaining half a cup of sugar. Then add the half-and-half (or cream or milk, or whatever dairy product you've chosen).

We included the zest from one of the limes, which looked and tasted great, but we did end up with a few chewy bits of lime peel that some might find objectionable, texturewise. The epicurious recipe proposes straining out the zest after steeping it in the cream for a while, but that's incompatible with our keep-it-simple-stupid philosophy here at alpinegizmo, so I say either include the zest, or not, but don't make things complicated.

At this point we were concerned that the acid in the lime syrup might curdle the milk, so we did a small scale experiment, which tasted great. So we slowly drizzled the still-rather-hot syrup into the egg/cream mixture, whisking as we went. And then we proceeded to freeze the ice cream, using our usual process. About 3 hours later, we were happily feasting on our first batch of lime ice cream -- which I'm sure won't be the last.