Recipe Redux: Splendid Key Lime Frozen Yogurt

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lime frozen yogurt

Straining the yogurt

It’s not often that a recipe changes your life. But truly, the Key Lime Frozen Yogurt recipe I redux-ed for this month’s Recipe Redux frozen dessert challenge wasn’t just delicious; it was a process through which I learned some cool new food science tricks. Here’s the scoop…

First you must imagine the flavors of the final product:  Sour fresh lime, tart milky yogurt, and just enough sweetness….little zesty burts on your tongue all at the same time. The mouth-feel was like nothing I’ve ever been able to concoct:  Amazingly creamy with the almost taffy-like scoopability of scoop shop ice cream – a creaminess that coats and slides over your tongue like a super-premium ice cream – and most certainly not like a low-fat yogurt.

The person who slaved away to perfect this recipe in her kitchen (with 30 ice cream makers she bought with her own money) was Jeni Britton Bauer of Jenni’s Splendid Ice Creams.  I heard about her revolutionary recipes each containing cream cheese, whole milk with a little cream, and corn syrup all in precise proportions on The Splendid Table. She explained that to get that creamy scoop-shop consistency watery ingredients must be avoided. Lots of liquid makes just-churned traditional homemade ice cream somewhat soupy and then after it’s been frozen, the dessert turns rock hard. I learned that it’s difficult for home cooks to achieve ice cream shop-like ice creams without the assistance of super-cold freezers and professional high-speed mixing machines…until now…until Jenni and her food magical ingredient combos.

key lime frozen yogurt

Licking the delicious dasher

I only tinkered with a few parts of Jenni’s Lemon Frozen Yogurt recipe. Instead of lemons, I used fresh limes (not Key Limes – but use them if you can find them!) I substituted Neufchatel cheese for cream cheese since I learned that the purpose of the cream cheese is to add a little additional (low-moisture) protein for structure, I thought the higher- protein, lower-fat cheese might work even better than regular cream cheese. And I used a scant less sugar. Before serving, I sprinkled each scoop with graham cracker crumbs for a taste reminiscent of creamy, limey Key Lime Pie. You really must try this recipe (and you’ll probably end up ordering the book like me…which has yet to arrive.) Please let me know if it changes your life too!


key lime frozen yogurt

Key Lime Frozen Yogurt

Frozen Yogurt Base

1 quart plain low-fat yogurt (I used Stonyfield)

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) Neufchatel cheese, softened

1/2 cup heavy cream

Scant 2/3 cup sugar

Scant 1/4 cup light corn syrup

Zest from 1 lime (reserved from below)

Lemon syrup

2 to 3 limes

3 tablespoons sugar

For the frozen yogurt base:
Fit a sieve over a bowl and line it with two layers of cheesecloth. Pour the yogurt into the sieve, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours to drain. Discard the liquid, and measure out 1 1/4 cups of the drained yogurt; set aside.

For the lime syrup:
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest in large strips from 1 lemon; reserve for the frozen yogurt (leave the lime zest in large strips so it’s easier to strain out later). Juice enough of the limes to make 1/2 cup.

Combine lime juice and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool.

For the frozen yogurt base:
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth.

Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and lime zest in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.

Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the reserved 11/4 cups yogurt and the lime syrup and whisk until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon zip-top freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Remove the zest from the frozen yogurt base. Pour into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.
Pack the frozen yogurt into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours (or eat most of it right out of the canister before freezing – like I did.)

For more Recipe Redux Frozen Desserts visit:

Emma Stirling – The Scoop on Nutrition
Greek Yogurt Pavlova Popsicles
Cherie Schetselaar – Grain Crazy
Blackberry Lemon Almond Torte

Carlene Helble- Carlene’s Figments
Peanut Butter Banana ‘Ice Cream’ Sandwich

Janel Funk – Eat Well with Janel
Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream

Kat Lynch – Eating The Week
Coconut Chia-Seed Fruit Pops

Dr Barb, Nutrition Budgeteer
Simply Fruit Mango-Pineapple Sorbet

Rebecca Scritchfield – MeFirst
5-minute Frozen Peach Pie

gretchen – kumquat
chocolate “ice cream” bars

Emily Greenfield – The Nutriscientist
Honey and strawberry semifreddo

Liz Marr – Liz On Food
Peach Lavender Ice Cream

Elizabeth Jarrard- Don’t (White) Sugar-Coat It
Adult Popsicles: Frozen Boozy Treats

Regan – The Professional Palate
Frozen Samoa Pie

Liz Weiss & Janice Newell Bissex – Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen
Healthy Blueberry and Mango Snow Cones

Jessica Fishman Levinson – Nutritioulicious
Watermelon Sorbet

Alexandra Caspero- Delicious Knowledge
Mango & Coconut Popsicles

Karman Meyer- Nutrition Adventures
Coconut Ice Cream with Strawberry Puree

Yuri – Chef Pandita
Acerola Chia Lime Popsicles

Kristen Bourque- Swanky Dietitian
Peanut Butter Coffee Popsicles

EA Stewart-The Spicy RD
Luscious Lemonade Pie

Danielle Omar – Food Confidence RD
Banana Soft Serve

Katie Caputo- East Meats West
Auntie Rosie’s Ice Cream Pie

Alysa Bajenaru – Inspired RD
Coffee Granita

Kara Lydon – Peace, Love, and Food
Peanut Butter Banana “Ice Cream” With Dark Chocolate

Nicole Ferring Holovach – Whole Health RD
Peaches and Rum Ice Cream Pie

Lisa @ Healthful Sense
Peanut Butter Vanilla Soft Serve

Jackie Mills – Delicious Diabetes Cooking
Summer Fruit Popsicles

Audra Losey – Nutrition Know How
Mocha Pops

Kristina LaRue – Love and Zest
Frozen Berry Yogurt


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  1. says

    Hi Serena, Your recipe sounds and looks splendid, indeed. The addition of Neufchatel is intriguing. I will have to try it in my next batch of ice cream. I’m on a roll!

    Thanks for organizing and hosting the Recipe Redux!

    • Serena says

      We’re having as much fun as I hope you are with Recipe Redux! So fun to read all the yummy desserts this time…are there enough days of summer left for them all? I think so!

  2. says

    you just totally jogged my memory… i’d read about her too and had completely forgotten. her use of cornstarch, cream cheese and corn syrup were very smart. i love the flavor you created… key lime never fails to refresh. love it!

    • Serena says

      Yeah, Jenni is really brilliant. I love the idea of her having 30 ice cream makers all going at one time…just to test recipes for us home cooks…and just so we too can make scoop shop ice cream!

  3. says

    Love the ice-cream science explanation! And your taster is pretty adorable too! I think we were thinking alike on this Recipe ReDux round. I definitely want to try your version with these ingredients. My lemon ice cream was delicious, but somewhat soft and later frozen hard like your explanation. Guess I’ve got some ice cream homework to do :-)

    • Serena says

      Agree Liz! Really good Key Lime pie is tough to find (even in Florida – seems they’re a dime a dozen) …but when you do, HEAVEN!!

  4. says

    I just tried Jeni’s ice cream today at her new shop in Nashville…so many amazing flavors to choose from! Key Lime Pie is my favorite dessert, so I will be trying this recipe immediately!


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