If I had to make a top 10 list of desserts, key lime pie would definitely be there and now I think this one is right there with it! It quite literally is the closest thing to key lime pie you can get without making an actual pie. I’m a sucker for key lime pie and I’m a sucker for ice cream, and this is perfection. It’s not shy on key lime flavor, it’s cold and creamy, and then there are those chunks of graham swimming all throughout the most satisfying dessert of the summer. Yeah I said it. DESSERT OF THE SUMMER. I may change my mind later since I’m always creating something new (you know how fickle food bloggers can be about that stuff 😉 ), but right now, all I can think about is trying not rip that pan out of my freezer and scoop myself a bowl of it at breakfast lunch and dinner.
Why this recipe is special:
Normally homemade ice creams require heating up your milk and tempering egg yolks into the mixture and completely cooling the mixture overnight before it even makes it to the ice cream maker. Then you have to chill the mixture AGAIN before you can eat it! Talk about torture! There is a time and a place for that, but that day is not today. For this ice cream, just combine the ingredients, pour into the ice cream maker, and chill for several hours or overnight. I dare you to try not to eat this out of the ice cream maker before it chills 😉
Ice cream maker: Unfortunately this recipe DOES require an ice cream maker. No way around it. If you have never made your own ice cream, it is just top notch. There was a period of time shortly after purchasing mine that we didn’t buy or go out and get ice cream for months! It’s that good! The Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Maker Attachment is what I have, and it was one of the best $80 investments I have ever made. I hate having extra kitchen gadgets, but this one is such a gem! This Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker is also very popular, highly rated on Amazon, and is around the same price.
Key Lime Juice: I’m a stickler for using key lime juice in this. It’s KEY lime pie ice cream after all. If you are tempted to sub regular lime juice, read on. The flavor of regular lime juice and key lime juice is distinct. I even did a side by side bottled lime juice vs. key lime juice to prove to myself that there was a definitive difference! There is! Regular lime juice was a lot sharper, so I would not recommend using it here or the ice cream just won’t be pleasant to eat. There is a super short season here at my local grocery for key limes, so I just use my favorite bottled Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice. I haven’t been able to find this in my grocery lately, but it can be ordered from Amazon from the underlined link above, and they carry it at World Market last time I checked.
Graham crackers: Ok so a graham cracker isn’t really special equipment, but I wanted to take a second to highlight my favorites. Pamela’s Gluten Free Grahams are what we have used for years and recently we have taken a liking to Schar Gluten Free Grahams as well. Both of these would work well in this recipe. Schar grahams are a little smaller, so I would lean more toward the 8 graham mark, whereas Pamela’s are a little bigger and I would only use about 6. Too many mix-in’s takes away from the creaminess of the ice cream in my opinion. Both of the underlined links above are for more than one package, but they are so delicious for smores, plain snacking, and making gluten free graham crusts as well!
Easy Key Lime Pie Ice Cream (gluten free!)
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup fresh or bottled key lime juice (Nellie and Joe’s is my favorite – see above to purchase)
- 1 – 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 pinch of fine salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6-8 gluten free graham squares (I use Pamela’s gluten free grahams – see above to purchase)
- Break up 6-8 gluten free graham squares into pieces and set aside.
- Whisk 1 1/4 cup whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 pinch fine salt, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in a medium sized bowl or mixing cup with a pour spout.* Whisk in 1 cup key lime juice. The mixture will thicken and this is normal. *if yours doesn’t have a pouring spout, you may want to combine in a large measuring cup or something that has a spout for easier pouring into the ice cream maker.
- Immediately pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 25-30 minutes until soft-serve consistency.
- Working quickly, gently mix in graham pieces with a rubber spatula, spread in metal loaf pan, cover and place in the freezer for 4 hours or overnight.
Storage: This ice cream will keep in the freezer for a long time, but it’s best consumed within the week that it is made. Here’s the short answer as to why: As you take the ice cream in and out of the freezer each time, little micro-crystals of ice start to melt. When you put the ice cream back, everything refreezes, but not in the same structure it was before. Long story short, the ice cream will end up getting well…icy and lose some of its smooth creamy consistency the longer it sits in the freezer.