Key Lime & Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Ice Cream

Ice cream. Ever the temperamental beast.

In the recent past, I’ve made ice cream without a machine and somewhat regretted the results. Although a mighty tasty concoction I could make, the consistency was never quite….well, right. After searching for months to find a suitable (read: affordable) machine, I was dissapointed to not have found anything of even “okay” quality. Almost everything I could buy locally was $100 or more. Too much for something I may use three times a year (especially now with all these kids in the house!).

But recently, I had the good fortune of befriending Marisa of OrganicFair, a local farm that sells various gourmet spices and essential oil blends as well as über goumet ice creams, vanilla beans and fresh, farm raised free range eggs. Marisa gave me an old Deni ice cream machine that she no longer needed, having commercial machines at her disposal at any time day or night. She also gave me priceless advice on the chemistry involved in ice cream making. It’s not the easiest thing making up a recipe for what is essentially a science experiment.

She told me to make sure my eggs were cold, to not decrease sugar volume by too much, to ensure maximum velocity cooling before churning and to cook my lime juice before adding to the recipe (to eliminate ice crystal forming water…naturally).

So with all this free advice and her donation of the best chicken eggs on the planet (I kid you not), I was ready to make my dream ice cream. Indulgent, yet refreshing. I do love a heavy chocolatey, caramel-y, peanut butter-y ice cream too, but in this heat I want refreshment with my indulgences.

What may appear to be a simple vanilla ice cream is made all the more complex with key lime juice and zest, and the tangy creaminess of buttermilk. I guarantee this ice cream is 100% delicious and pairs well with other tangy treats, like stewed rhubarb, strawberry coulis, blackberries or other fruits.

With the husband back in the house again after a long trip to New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and New Jersey (I’m ridiculously jealous) and my parents gone again (they stayed for six weeks to help with baby) I hope to get back to making height of summer spectacular meals as soon as possible. I have high hopes for me abilities to juggle infants, toddlers, husbands, overrun gardens, dogs, and the like while managing the grocery shopping and normal old household chores as well. Wish me luck, it scares the crap out of me to even step foot out of the house with two kids in tow and no one to help me with either of them (mommy!).

Wish me luck!

Key Lime & Vanilla Buttermilk Ice Cream

Yield: 1 litre
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
6 egg yolks (preferably organic, free range)
2 cups buttermilk
1 large vanilla bean
juice and zest of 6 key limes

1. Mix sugars together in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Split vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape seeds out with small knife and place in a saucepan, throw in the pod as well (we’ll take it out later).

To purchase these magnificent organic beans online, visit Organic Fair’s Online Store


3. Add heavy cream and 1/3 of sugar to saucepan with vanilla and heat over low until sugar is dissolved and cream is steaming. Remove from heat, cover and allow to steep for 15-30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat the egg yolks and 1/3 of the sugar until sugar is dissolved.


5. While you wait for the vanilla to steep in the cream, mix remaining sugar with juice and zest of lime in a small saucepan and heat over medium. Allow to cook until slightly thickened, set aside.
6. Uncover the cream, remove the bean pod and slowly drizzle into egg yolks while whisking continuously.
7. Return to saucepan, add lime/sugar mix, and heat over low. Stir constantly with a spatula from bottom and sides until it coats the back of the spatula. (A good test is to run your finger down the spatula and if the lines run together it’s not done yet, they should remain separated). Remove from heat.
8. Stir in buttermilk and chill immediately over an ice bath until completely cooled.
9. Place in refrigerator overnight.


10. Follow ice cream machine manufacturers instructions for freezing.

I’m going to try something different…some may be annoyed by all those pics, so here is the recipe unadulterated:

Key Lime & Vanilla Buttermilk Ice Cream

Yield: 1 litre
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
6 egg yolks (preferably organic, free range)
2 cups buttermilk
1 large vanilla bean
juice and zest of 6 key limes

1. Mix sugars together in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Split vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape seeds out with small knife and place in a saucepan, throw in the pod as well (we’ll take it out later).
3. Add heavy cream and 1/3 of sugar to saucepan with vanilla and heat over low until sugar is dissolved and cream is steaming. Remove from heat, cover and allow to steep for 15-30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat the egg yolks and 1/3 of the sugar until sugar is dissolved.
5. While you wait for the vanilla to steep in the cream, mix remaining sugar with juice and zest of lime in a small saucepan and heat over medium. Allow to cook until slightly thickened, set aside.
6. Uncover the cream, remove the bean pod and slowly drizzle into egg yolks while whisking continuously.
7. Return to saucepan, add lime/sugar mix, and heat over low. Stir constantly with a spatula from bottom and sides until it coats the back of the spatula. (A good test is to run your finger down the spatula and if the lines run together it’s not done yet, they should remain separated). Remove from heat.
8. Stir in buttermilk and chill immediately over an ice bath until completely cooled.
9. Place in refrigerator overnight.
10. Follow ice cream machine manufacturers instructions for freezing.

Similarly delicious recipes from other blogs:

Key Lime Ice Cream on Dianne’s Dishes
Mini Key Lime Ice Cream Pies with Raspberry Sorbet Middles on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
Chocolate Buttermilk Ice Cream on Cupcake Project
Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream on Joy the Baker
Raspberry Buttermilk Ice Cream on Lottie + Doof

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