Limoncello + kaffir lime ice-cream.

All the flavour of Summer citrus, packed into a sweet, luscious, creamy ice-cream.
Think of it as the most grown-up lemon-lime splice you’re ever going to eat.

Limoncello kaffir lime ice-cream

Base custard: based on David Lebovitz’s vanilla ice-cream.
The rest: improvised.

ALERT: You’ll need to make the ice-cream custard base the day before you want to have the ice-cream ready, and the bowl/canister of your ice-cream maker needs to be fully frozen (which can take up to 24 hours) before you can turn the custard into ice-cream. The best solution: just store the ice-cream canister in the freezer when you’re not using it.

For the ice-cream:
1 cup whole milk (skim won’t work; unhomogenised Jersey milk is… incredible)*
2 tsp citrus essence*
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 small kaffir lime leaves (optional)
2 cups (500 ml) whipping cream
2 tbsp limoncello*
1/2 cup chopped candied citrus peel


To make the custard base:

  1. If it isn’t already there, put your ice-cream machine bowl in the freezer!
  2. Separate the egg yolks. (Keep the whites for a meringue or something.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and citrus essence — stirring constantly — until it’s just about to boil. Turn off the heat.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the yolks and the sugar together, until well combined.
  5. One serving-spoonful at a time, add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, whisking as you go. I can’t emphasis this enough: Don’t be too hasty. If you add too much of the hot liquid all at once, you’ll end up with sweet scrambled eggs. Yuck.
  6. Once you’ve added all the milk to the yolks, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and over a medium to low heat, stir constantly until it thickens enough to coats the back of a spoon.
  7. Remove from the heat and set aside briefly.
  8. Chop the kaffir lime leaves very finely, and add them to the hot custard.
  9. Pour the custard into a large metal or glass mixing bowl, add the cream and limoncello, and stir til combined.
  10. Cover in cling wrap and store in a cold fridge for several hours (overnight is best).

To churn the ice-cream:

  1. Take the chilled custard out of the fridge and turn on the ice-cream machine.
  2. Slowly pour the custard to the ice-cream machine and churn until it’s at soft-serve consistency — depending on your machine and how cold it was (and how hot it is in your kitchen) this could take anything from 15–40 minutes. (I wish I could be more specific!)
  3. Once you’ve stopped the churn, work quickly!
    First fold in the chopped citrus peel with a firm spatula until the pieces are more or less evenly distributed.
  4. Then using a large serving spoon, start transferring the ice-cream into one or two large, freezer-suitable containers.
  5. Quickly put the finished product in the freezer and let it set for a few hours.
  6. Serve alongside chilled Summer stone fruit, rich blackberry pie, or (and?) an extra-salty margarita.


*I have the luxury of homemade kaffir lime essence (from homegrown leaves)**, homemade limoncello (from homegrown limes)***, and access to unhomogenised Jersey milk and amazing organic/free-range eggs. But these are luxuries — and optional ones at that.

The point is you can use any citrus flavouring or essence, and any citrus-flavoured alcohol. Just don’t cut back on the egg yolks or use skim milk. If you use skim/low-fat ANYTHING in ice-cream, it will just turn out icy. And icy ice-cream is the saddest thing. Ice-cream needs sugar and/or fat and/or alcohol to keep it from freezing solid. This one has all three, so the texture is pretty amazing.

**You can easily make your own kaffir lime essence… if you have a few months to wait around. If you bought a bunch of leaves and only used a couple, just crush/bruise four or five leaves in your hand, then put them in a tiny jar and fill it to the brim with vodka. Store this away in a dark, cool place for a few months and SHAZAM! Kaffir lime essence.

***Totally DIY-able — I made a batch more than a year ago and it’s still amazing. Syrupy, zesty, and just the thing for finishing off a Summer dinner, macerating fruit or keeping ice-cream pliable. But that recipe is for another time (or you could google for tips).

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