You already know what’s going on around here, right? Well, if you’re just joining our band of misfits- welcome! To update you: my family and I are in the process of selling our home and moving to another city. But, man!!! Do I have an update for you! Our home was only on the market for an hour and a half before it sold! The word “whirlwind” isn’t sufficient enough to describe this situation. We didn’t even have a chance to fret over its sale before it was spoken for. Now I’m even more hard-pressed to use up the food in my pantry. I found a pack of dried kaffir lime leaves lingering, so I came up with this Kaffir Lime and Blueberry Frozen Custard.
Kaffir Lime Leaves…and more…
I know kaffir lime leaves aren’t something one includes on their weekly shopping list, but a once-a-year purchase of them will do you tons of good. I was developing a Thai recipe that required them, and that’s the reason they were squatting in my pantry. My recommendation is to use dried kaffir lime leaves whenever possible. Fresh are more pungent, but they also require more attention, and are harder to source.
For this recipe, you’ll also need whole milk, heavy cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and fresh blueberries. Oh! You’ll need smidgen of salt, as well.
What are kaffir limes?
A great question, considering you’re about to make a whole recipe that centers around them! Kaffir limes are bumpy, bitter, little citrus fruits used in Southeast Asian and Asian dishes. Typically, the fruit itself isn’t used because of how bitter it is. As a result of this bitterness, the kaffir lime leaves (and less often the juice) are the most utilized part of the fruit. The leaves add a citrusy, floral essence to any dish they’re added to.
You can find dried kaffir lime leaves in most Asian markets, or online. Shop for leaves that are dried, since- again- finding fresh kaffir lime leaves may be a struggle. If you can find fresh leaves, use half the amount called for in this recipe. Fresh anything is more pungent than its dried counterpart. Prepping fresh leaves is also a bit more time consuming as you’ll need to remove the center rib (or stem) before thinly slicing the leaves.
Prepare the kaffir lime frozen custard base
Whichever form of leaf you decide to go with, you’ll need to prepare the base of the frozen custard first.
Use a saucier, or a pan that has sloped sides. This will prevent your custard from sticking in the corners of your pot as you stir it.
In the pot, combine both the whole milk and the heavy cream.
Add the entire amount of dried kaffir lime leaves, then, use a microplane to zest in the peel of one regular lime. I added this to heighten the lime flavor. Without it, the custard will still taste floral and citrusy, but this brightens the frozen custard a bit more.
Finally, add to the pot a split and scraped vanilla bean.
Give the contents a stir and let it heat, on low, for 5-7 minutes, or until the milks begin to steam. Turn the heat off and allow the kaffir lime leaves to steep in that hot milk for 10 minutes.
Why steep the leaves?
Just like tea, these kaffir lime leaves need to steep in a hot liquid to bring out the bulk of their flavor. Without this steeping time (and the subsequent chilling time), our frozen custard will only have a “kiss” of kaffir lime flavor. We want it to have a full-on make-out sesh.
What differentiates Ice Cream from Frozen Custard?
Eggs are the difference between ice cream and frozen custard. I honestly don’t remember when I made ice cream last. Frozen custard has always held a place in my heart, so if I’m going to consume the calories, they damn sure better taste amazing. Ice cream and- *gasp* frozen milk (I shudder at the mere mention) just don’t do it for me like frozen custard does.
Make the egg base by whisking together the large egg yolks, granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl.
Before we add the egg mixture to the hot milk, we need to temper them. To do that, just whisk a cup of the hot milk into the eggs in a slow stream. The slower the better so you avoid curdling the eggs. Once all of milk has been whisked in, slowly pour the eggs into the pot of milk in the same way- a slow stream- whisking constantly.
Cook the custard base until thickened
After the eggs have been whisked into the warm milk, begin heating the mixture. A medium-low heat is perfect as it will cook the eggs in the mixture slowly. You’ll need to stir the mixture constantly to prevent it from sticking to (and scorching) the bottom of the pot. When properly thickened, the custard should coat the back of spoon, as well as hold a line drawn through it with your finger. This is called nappe. Thickening of the custard base can take anywhere from 6-8 minutes.
After the custard has thickened, transfer it to a mixing bowl. At this point, you can strain the leaves and vanilla bean from the custard. I prefer to chill the custard with both left in, though, to get a stronger flavor.
Place the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice and chill the custard base until ice cold. Then, place the bowl (covered) into the refrigerator for 8-24 hours. While you could just chill, then churn it, I prefer to give the custard base time to “age”. This aging gives the churned, frozen custard a fuller mouth-feel when eaten.
Churn the Custard
After aging (chilling) the base, pour the custard through a strainer to remove the kaffir lime leaves and vanilla bean. You’ll need to encourage it with a rubber spatula and be patient- the leaves like to clog the strainer a little.
Now, pour the custard into your ice cream maker. I have a fairly large ice cream maker, so I’m able to churn the entire batch of custard at once. If you have a smaller machine, divide your custard in half to churn it. You’ll just have to wait 24 hours before you churn the other half. That’s just because the machine’s insert needs time to refreeze.
Churn the custard to a soft-serve consistency (follow your ice cream machine’s instructions for churning times). While your custard is churning, place a stainless steel bowl into the freezer and chop your fresh blueberries.
After your custard has finished churning, pour the custard into the frozen stainless steel bowl. Fold the chopped blueberries into the custard, then pour the custard into two quart-sized ice cream containers. You can also stir the blueberries into the custard as you pour it into the ice cream containers, but I find that to be too messy and wasteful.
Once the containers are filled, cover them and freeze the custard (upside down) for 4-6 hours, or overnight. The upside down trick is something I picked up while working in an ice cream parlor. It helps the custard freeze towards the top of the container- making scooping it easier. It’s not a must, though.
Scoop, Serve, and Enjoy!
After your frozen custard has had a chance to firm up, you’re ready to serve it. Let it sit out for 15 minutes before scooping so you get the perfect serving consistency.
Scoop the Kaffir Lime and Blueberry Frozen Custard into ice cream dishes, waffle cones, or onto a plain ol’ sugar cone. This frozen custard will freeze longer than I’ll be in my current home- up to 2 months.
Wish us luck as we go through the sale and closing (hopefully) process of our home! The journey’s just getting started!
Pin this recipe, then share it with your frozen confection-loving friends!
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Kaffir Lime and Blueberry Frozen Custard
Kaffir lime leaves can be found in most Asian food markets, or online.
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups dried kaffir lime leaves
- 1 large lime, zest only
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 12 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 dry pint blueberries, chopped
Heat the contents of the pot on low, for 5-7 minutes, or until the milks begin to steam. Turn the heat off and allow the kaffir lime leaves to steep in the hot milk for 10 minutes.
While the leaves are steeping, whisk together the egg yolks, granulated sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
Temper the eggs by whisking a cup of the hot milk into the eggs in a slow stream. Once all of milk has been whisked in, slowly pour the eggs into the pot of milk in the same way- a slow stream- whisking constantly.
Cook the mixture over medium-low heat until thickened (about 6-8 minutes), stirring constantly.
When properly thickened, the custard should coat the back of spoon, as well as hold a line drawn through it with your finger.
Once the custard has thickened, transfer it to a mixing bowl**. Place the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice and chill the custard base until ice cold.
Now, cover and place the bowl into the refrigerator for 8-24 hours and allow the custard to age.
After chilling, pour the custard through a strainer to remove the kaffir lime leaves and vanilla bean.
Churn the custard to a soft serve consistency in your ice cream maker following the machine's manufacturer's guidelines for churning times.
While your custard is churning, place a stainless steel bowl into the freezer for later use.
After the custard has finished churning, pour the custard into the frozen stainless steel bowl. Gently fold the chopped blueberries into the custard, then pour the custard into two quart-sized ice cream containers.
Cover and freeze the custard for 4-6 hours, or overnight. After your frozen custard has had a chance to firm up, allow it to warm on the counter for 15 minutes before scooping and enjoying.
**At this point, you can strain the leaves and vanilla bean from the custard, or for a stronger flavor, chill the custard with the leaves and vanilla in it.
This frozen custard can be kept, frozen, for up to 2 months.
Check out these other berry-filled sweets: