Frozen Key Lime Bars

May is my favorite month of the year.  I’m looking forward to fishing and snorkeling, spending evenings on the porch, and celebrating a few birthdays.  I like making birthday cakes, but baking isn’t much fun when it’s really hot out, so I broke out the ice cream maker instead. 

This recipe is by far the best thing I’ve ever cranked out of that machine.  I adapted it from a frozen yogurt recipe in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.  That book has completely transformed homemade frozen desserts for me.  The recipes require a little more effort, with some unusual methods and ingredients, but they work like magic every time.

So this is a key lime frozen yogurt based on the Jeni method.  It’s silky and creamy, tart and then sweet, just like real key lime pie should be.  Once it’s churned, spread it over a graham cracker crust and pop it back in the freezer.  

Dig in before it melts.

Frozen Key Lime Bars
Ingredients For the Graham Cracker Crust
  1. 9 graham crackers (1 pack from a box)
  2. 7 tablespoons butter, melted
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
  4. pinch of salt
Ingredients for the Frozen Yogurt
  1. 1/2 cup key lime juice
  2. 3 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  4. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  5. 4 tablespoons cream cheese (room temperature)
  6. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  7. 1/4 cup honey
  8. 2/3 cup sugar
  9. zest from one key lime (optional)
  10. 1 1/4 cups Greek yogurt
  11. serve with whipped cream and key lime (optional)
To Make the Graham Cracker Crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 325.
  2. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until they are finely ground. Transfer them to a bowl and stir in the melted butter, sugar, and salt.
  3. Press the mixture evenly into a 9x9 pan using the bottom of a glass.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes and allow to cool.
To Make the Frozen Yogurt
  1. Combine the key lime juice and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium-high. Whisk just until the sugar has dissolved and set the mixture aside to cool.
  2. Mix two tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to form a slurry, stirring until no lumps remain.
  3. In a medium bowl, whip up the cream cheese with a fork until it's light and smooth.
  4. Fill a large bowl (or the sink) with ice water.
  5. Add the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, honey, and zest (if using) to a large saucepan. Whisk the mixture over medium-high. Bring it to a low boil and keep it there for 3 minutes. Slowly stir in the cornstarch slurry. Allow the mixture to return to a boil for about a minute, or until it starts to thicken.
  6. Remove the zest, if used.
  7. Slowly stir this mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese. Add the Greek yogurt and the key lime juice and sugar mixture.
  8. Pour this mixture into a 1-gallon ziplock bag. (You can stand the bag up in a pitcher or large measuring cup if you don't have a helping hand). Seal the bag and submerge it in the ice water for at least 30 minutes.
  9. Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker until it's thick.
  10. Spread the frozen yogurt over the graham cracker crust. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze it.
  11. To serve: Allow it to stand at room temperature for at least 5 minutes before slicing it into bars with a sharp knife. Top with whipped cream and a twist of key lime.
Suwannee Rose