Before moving to Los Angeles, I went through my parents’ kitchens. Each of them gave me some very valuable things for my new place (which I’ll be moving into next month). Lots of silverware and plates, my dad gave me a toaster oven. All very crucial things! But when going through my mom’s kitchen, I remembered that she had a bread maker and an ice cream maker. My mom is a great cook, but sticks to excellent fast dinners over intricate complex projects. Accordingly, I asked if she would mind if I took them off her hands. She did not, and so now I have a bread maker and an ice cream maker!
I have yet to use the bread maker (maybe for an imminent recipe?), but I couldn’t wait to try out the ice cream maker. I decided to look for a mash up suggestion to try it out. There it was, right on the list. A suggestion from Boone from back in January: avocados and almonds. Perfect! I instantly got an idea: a deconstructed key lime pie inspired sundae! It’s also the perfect thing to honor my first recipe back in California for good! Avocados and California go hand in hand, really.
In San Francisco, I used to go to Café Gratitude on 9th and Irving with Dad and Merri. They had this awesome raw vegan key lime pie (which, for those that don’t know, is one of my favorite desserts) using avocado in the filling and a variety of different nuts in the crust. I decided to work off of that idea (but… not vegan) for my recipe. I had, of course, to figure out a way to turn it into an ice cream.
Ben’s housemate, Nick, has an excellent recipe book from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (which you can find here) that has some awesome recipes. I decided to use Jeni’s base recipe, plus some suggestions and ideas I found in other recipes, to improvise my own. Eventually, the recipe came out great. However, if I learned anything from this experience with an ice cream maker, it is this: make 100% sure that your frozen canister is completely frozen. It took me more than one attempt (read: 3) at churning to finally get the base to freeze. The freezer was a little bit on the fritz, and I hadn’t made sure that there was no liquid noise when the I shook the canister. This is a mistake. Always make sure that there is not one bit on unfrozen liquid in that canister before you start churning! Alright, enough of that public service announcement, back to the recipe.
I went with an ice cream because I wanted the texture to be nice and creamy like key lime pie. The sacrifice, of course, is that this is not a low fat or low calorie recipe. The good news is that it is so rich and flavorful that you don’t need very much to feel satisfied. The other good news is that avocados have a lot of important vitamins, nutrients, and heart healthy fats (okay… fine, who am I kidding?). In any case, I do want to be clear that this is an indulgence, not a healthy alternative. That being said… it’s a creamy, tangy, refreshing, delicious indulgence, and that’s the kind that’s most worth while.
- 5-6 limes or 10-12 key limes (or a combination)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1½ oz (3 Tbsp) cream cheese, softened
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 3 medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and pureed until smooth
- 12 graham cracker squares (6 full sheets)
- 1½ cups sliced almonds
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ brown sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup water
- ¾ tsp salt
- 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
- ½ tsp baking soda
- vegetable oil for coating the baking sheet
- Make the lime syrup: Using a knife or vegetable peeler, remove enough zest from the limes to yield about 1½ Tbsp, being careful to avoid the white pith. Then, squeeze the limes until you have ½ cup of juice. Combine the lime juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar appears dissolved into the liquid. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Using a food processor or a spice grinder, pulse the lime zest until it is very finely minced.
- Prep for the base: Mix about 2 Tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to form a slurry, trying to make it as lump-free as possible. In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese, salt and avocado puree. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water.
- Cook the ice cream base: In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup, and lime zest. Bring this mixture to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and slowly stir in the cornstarch slurry.
- Return the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring until the mixture is slightly thickened, about a minute. Remove from the heat
- Chill the base: Carefully whisk the hot milk mixture into the avocado mixture until smooth. Whisk in the lime syrup as well. Pour the base into a large zip-top freezer bag, then submerge the bag into the ice water bath. Let the base cool for about 30 minutes.
- Freeze the ice cream: Pour the ice cream base into the (thoroughly) frozen canister of your ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions until thick and creamy. When done churning, pack the ice cream into a storage container. Press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface of the ice cream to prevent freezer burn. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
- For the graham cracker almond brittle: Preheat your oven to 375F. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until you have fine crumbs. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet, covered in foil, and bake for about 10 minutes until fragrant and browned. Remove the foil and almonds from the baking sheet to cool. Lay another large sheet of foil over the baking sheet and generously spread with vegetable oil.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugars, corn syrup, water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar completely. Insert a candy thermometer into the pan and add the butter. Bring the mixture back to a boil, then cook until the mixture reaches 300F. Remove from the heat and immediately add the graham cracker crumbs, then the almonds, and then the baking soda, stirring thoroughly but working quickly. Pour the mixture out onto the baking sheet, spreading it to about a ¼ inch thickness. Allow to cool completely. Once cooled, break the brittle into 1½-2 inch squareish shapes.
- To serve, chop a square of brittle and sprinkle it over a scoop of ice cream. Enjoy!
I’m under the distinct impression that everyone was very pleasantly surprised by the outcome! The avocados gave the ice cream a nice buttery texture and flavor, while the sugar and lime made it very indicative of key lime pie filling. The salty crunch of the almond brittle was reminiscent of a graham cracker crust and provided a nice counterpoint to the ice cream. I’m a big fan, but I had to put about 3/4ths of the serving that I photographed back in the freezer for later because it was just too rich to have a lot of! (In my opinion, that’s a good thing, it’ll last longer and wreak less havoc on my healthy eating).
On another note, I took these pictures on my phone, and I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised with how they came out. They’re not quite as good as my professional quality ones from recipes past, but for now I think it’ll do. I just have to make sure I’m always getting that natural light!
Anyway, thanks for the suggestion, Boone! I’ll have to make you a batch when you come visit!