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 bursts 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.
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!
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.)