Well, last week the fall season began, the season of change, letting go, and a reminder that nothing is permanent. For myself, as I say good-bye to summer, I am also saying good-bye to a 10 year relationship that ended on a very bad note and letting go of the pain that has accompanied it.
For those that have been in long term relationships that have ended, you know that one of the most difficult things to overcome in the first few of months is everything that reminds you of your former significant other. Now, I’m a social scientist. From my sociology anthropology background I know that everything has meaning, but only because we attach that meaning to it. That said, we can also remove and change those meanings, which is why I spent most of my summer exorcising demons from the places and things I had shared with Shawn over the past decade. Of course some things are more easily taken care of (i.e. burning pictures, donating left behind clothing), while others, like places, are harder (I’m probably the only person that hates Charleston, SC). I thought I had cleared them all out of the shadows until the other week.
I had joined my family in Orlando and one non-Disney day, while my nieces napped, I was able to escape for a couple of hours. I found myself a nice restaurant, buying myself a tasty, light lunch and a fun flight of wine. Being on vacation, of course I said yes to dessert. When my server brought out a tray of tall shot glasses filled with sweet delights, I asked her for her recommendation.She told me the key lime pie trifle was her absolute favorite.
I visibly cringed.
I love key lime pie, and although Shawn was not the one that introduced me to it, he is the one that made it a regular occurrence in my life. (BTW, I went for the s’mores and chocolate peanut butter trifles.)
So this post is not only about saying good-bye to this sad, sunny summer, but also about letting the past go and reclaiming key lime pie.
Let me tell you, these poor key limes! I can’t tell you how hard I glared at them before taking a deep breath and adding them to my shopping cart. Of course the limes hadn’t hurt me, Shawn had. They were just lil ol’ limes. I had to do something nice with them.
Instead of making a key lime pie, like the minis Shawn and I made for this post that recently popped up in my Facebook Memories, I decided to re-try a recipe I had written down two summers ago after Emilie and I had visited Seven Oaks Lavender Farm: a Key Lime and Lavender ice cream.
In my opinion, this is a very elegant ice cream with its lightly floral notes from the lavender and the bitter citrus of the key limes. For me, this take on key lime pie made me think of how much I have grown and changed over the past decade. After all, I made ice cream instead of slashing the tires of his brand new blue Ford F150 truck, right? Yes, I am a grown, refined woman who has no need to stoop that low. Instead I’ll keep doing what I’ve always done, and work to leave the world better than how I found it.
Key-lime Lavender Ice Cream
• 1/2 cup 2% milk
• 1/2 cup half and half
• 1/2 cup sugar, divided, plus 1 tablespoon separated
• 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
• 1 12 ounce can evaporated, low fat milk
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons dried, culinary lavender buds
• 3-4 egg yolks
• 1/3 cup fresh key lime juice, about 7 key limes (substitute Persian limes if preferred as key limes have a natural bitterness)
• 1 teaspoon key lime zest
• 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
• Pinch of sea salt
1. In a saucepan, combine whole milk, evaporated milk, 1/4 cup sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract, lavender buds, and sea salt. Whisk to combine.
2. Add lavender buds to ice cream base.
3. Heat the milk mixture gently over medium heat to 180° Fahrenheit. Tiny bubbles will form around the edge, but do NOT bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
4. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes, allowing the lavender to steep and the ice cream base to cool.
5. While ice cream base is cooling, whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
6. Place a mesh strainer over a large bowl.
7. Pour cooled ice cream base through the strainer, separating lavender buds from the base. Discard buds.
8. Very gradually add ice cream base into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs and causing the base to curdle. Retain strainer and bowl and set aside for later.
9. Return entire mixture to the saucepan. Turn stove to medium heat.
10. Stirring constantly, continue cook the ice cream base until it reaches 160° Fahrenheit.
11. Strain the ice cream base again, pouring through the mesh strainer into a large bowl. Discard any remaining solids.
12. Add key lime zest to warm ice cream base and whisk together.
13. Cover ice cream base with plastic wrap, ensuring it touches the surface to prevent a skin forming.
14. Place covered bowl in the refrigerator and allow ice cream base to cool, about 20 minutes.
15. After ice cream base has cooled, add key lime juice and whisk to combine.
Replace the following steps with the instructions that came with your particular ice cream maker.
1. Turn on the ice cream maker and carefully pour the ice cream base mixture into the frozen freezer bowl.
2. Allow the ice cream base to churn and thicken into a soft serve like, creamy texture, approximately 35-40 minutes.
3. Add crushed graham crackers to the ice cream base and churn an additional 5 minutes.
4. Divide ice cream into freezer safe, air tight containers. Cover and freeze until ice cream is firm, about 3 hours.
Be sure to check out my Lighten Up the Churn recipe for other notes.