By Jessica Roy This weekend I was sucked into a travel / cooking show that featured Key West, Florida, and key lime pie. The second I saw the turquoise water, bright lime-green props, and thought about buttery graham cracker crust, it was all I could do to not run out to the store and buy a frozen pie.

Then, yesterday, I was at the beach, sweating in the sweltering sun, and began having mirage-style visions of a cold ice cream cone going down the hatch.

That's how this week's recipe for Frozen Key Lime Ice Cream Bites was born. Rarely do I make a full pie that gets entirely eaten before going stale. Packing all the refreshing sweet/tart flavor into single size servings that can be kept in the freezer makes it easy to enjoy this dessert for several days after the initial recipe is made.

Key limes are actually smaller, and a bit more sour-tart than regular Persian-style limes. Fresh key limes can sometimes be tricky to come by in many stores, but bottled juice is readily available and can be saved for future recipes. The juice is also delicious for cocktails, or to give a little extra punch to your ice water. Many traditional pie recipes use sweetened condensed milk as a staple ingredient. Here, we are making a custard style ice cream, so we will nix the SCD for our frozen dessert.

My favorite part of any pie is usually the crust, especially those made with crushed up cookies. While the recipe calls for standard issue graham crackers, feel free to use whatever style cookie you like best.


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Frozen Key Lime Ice Cream Bites

Ingredients

1/4 cup fresh key lime juice

1/2 cup sugar

4 egg yolks

2 Tbs. heavy cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch salt

1 cup heavy cream, for whipping

6 graham crackers

1 Tbs. sugar

Tools needed: saucepan snugly fitted with heatproof glass bowl; wire whisk

1. Fill a saucepan halfway with water, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a heatproof glass bowl, whisk together lime juice, sugar, egg yolks, 2 Tbs. heavy cream, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt, until smooth.

2. Place bowl into saucepan directly over the simmering water. Continue to slowly whisk the mixture consistently, ensuring to make contact with the bottom and sides of the bowl. Continue to cook and whisk until mixture thickens into a custard-like texture, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan, and set aside. Allow to cool completely.

3. Meanwhile, whip 1 cup of heavy cream into stiff peaks. Once custard mixture has cooled to room temperature, fold the whipped cream into the custard. Place in the freezer for 3-4 hours, or overnight until it's firmly frozen.

4. Crush the graham crackers into crumbs, and mix with 1 Tbs. sugar in a small bowl. Use an ice cream scoop to portion the frozen Key Lime Ice Cream into bite size balls. Roll in the cookie crumbs, and place ice cream balls back on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for an additional hour, or until ready to serve.

Jessica Roy is a specialty chef and caterer, food writer and chef instructor, and owner of Shiso Kitchen in Somerville, where she teaches classes. Follow her at http://blogs.lowellsun.com/yourpersonalchef.