Summer has arrived with a fury. It’s like it knows that its only allowed to come out and play for three short months, so it’s making the most of that small window of time. After a particularly long and dreary winter, I can’t complain about the sudden onslaught of gorgeous sunshine and bright blue skies, but damn… my apartment is a sauna. I promised myself this year that I wouldn’t complain about it because it’s truly a #firstworldproblem and things could be much, much worse.
To encourage those happy feels, I made a batch of Fresh Mint & Lime Ice Cream, inspired by David Lebovitz’s Mint Chip Ice Cream recipe. I left his recipe largely intact; his ratio of milk to cream to sugar to egg yolks is my favourite combination and one that I use as the basis for all of my ice cream flavours. I find it has the perfect balance of richness, creaminess, and sweetness for that ideal ice cream texture and mouth feel.
So why mint and lime? Why not stick with the classic mint and chocolate? I wanted to try something a little more refreshing to beat the summer heat. When I was thinking about mint combinations, lime became a top contender. Of course they pair well together – just think of Mojitos or Mint Juleps. The herbaceous, woody quality of mint is balanced by the brightness of the lime. Ooooh yes, it would work well indeed.
What would work really lovely in this would be key limes. I didn’t have any luck finding them at my local grocery store, so I stuck with regular limes. Either type would work, but it will take more key limes to get the amount of zest and juice noted in the recipe. I found that the amount of zest and juice I put in was ideal, but it can always be adjusted to personal taste.
The resulting product is certainly unique. At first, I was taken by the resulting beautiful pale green of the ice cream; no need for any artificial colouring here. I admit that when I tried my first spoonful, I didn’t know what to make of it. This is not your typical mint-flavoured ice cream. This is much more floral, with the fresh mint flavour quite prominent with the first bite that finishes on the bright lime note. Because I was unsure of it, I kept eating it. The more I ate, the more I started to like it. It’s like the flavour builds with each spoonful and gets better and better. If you’re the adventurous type (or you really love the flavour of fresh, herbaceous mint), I recommend you give this a try.
I can see how this mint base would work really well with some dark or bittersweet chocolate chips, so if you’re into the classic rendition, stick with David’s original Mint Chip Ice Cream recipe. Either way, you can’t go wrong with this; it’s cool, refreshing, and perfect for summer.
Fresh Mint & Lime Ice Cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
- Pinch of salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 2 tbsp lime zest
- 6 tbsp fresh lime juice
Heat the milk, sugar, 1 cup of heavy cream, mint, and salt in a medium saucepan until it starts to steam (do not let it boil). Cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl or container and place a mesh strainer on top. Set aside. Reheat the mint milk mixture until steaming, being careful not to let it boil. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour tablespoonfuls of the warmed milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan.
Place the saucepan over low heat and stir constantly with a rubber spatula, being sure to scrape the bottom of the pan as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula; it should only take a few minutes. Make sure not to let the custard boil, otherwise it will curdle.
Pour the custard through the mesh strainer. Press onto the mint to extract as much flavour as possible. Discard the mint. Place the bowl over an ice bath. Stir occasionally, until the mixture is cool. Cover and transfer the custard to the refrigerator until completely chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight.
Right before churning, gently whisk in the lime zest and lime juice. Mix thoroughly. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Enjoy often and enjoy liberally, because ice cream is awesome.