Adapted from The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto
by F.W. Pearce & Danilo Zecchin
Tangy, tart, and refreshing, with a bit of graham cracker crunch—just like the pie.
One of Ciao Bella's most popular recent flavor creations, this started as a seasonal offering for our chef customers and became wildly successful in our gelaterie. The popularity of Key Lime with Graham Cracker Gelato was a bit of a surprise because its flavor is decidedly tart, while Americans tend to have sweeter palates. There's always a fine line between creating what chefs appreciate and what customers will like, but in this case everyone was happy. This flavor is so popular that in less than a year it became our number-one retail gelato flavor in New York City.
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, preferably Key lime
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
3/4 cup crushed graham crackers,* frozen
In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine milk and cream. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn't form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and mixture reaches a temperature of 170 degrees.
Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper egg yolks by very slowly pouring in hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return custard to saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185 degrees. Do not bring to a boil.
Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring every 5 minutes or so. To cool custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl with the custard in it; stir custard until cooled. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Gently whisk the lime juice and zest into the base. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Just after churning quickly stir in the graham cracker crumbs. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
Yield: makes 1 quart (4 cups) and serves 8
*To crush graham crackers, place about 5 graham crackers in a large zip-top bag. Place on a work surface and roll over them with a rolling pin, heavy jar, or wine bottle. Alternatively, break them up a bit by hand, then process in a food processor into crumbs.
Recipes: Desserts, Gelato, Dairy, Kosher