Key Lime Pie Ice Cream- Top Chef Nitro Style!

There are a ton of cooking shows on television today.  Some I love, some are just “ehh”, and some are just garbage.  The shows I don’t like are the ones that make professional kitchens and chefs look ridiculous. Many of my friends and family ask me after seeing Hell’s Kitchen, “Is that what you do?”…So I’d like to say to everyone, while there are times when chef is screaming in our kitchen, there is no Gordon Ramsey running around yelling at seemingly inexperienced “chefs” that don’t know how to saute a piece of fish. It just isn’t reality….

I am a Top Chef fan, I think Bravo does a great job, capturing the energy and vibe of a kitchen.  When my friends and family chat me up about cooking, our conversations often lead to Top Chef.  I love the creativity of the chefs, the familiar competition amongst them and the accurate portrayal of the stress all kitchens have.  The producers really capture it well, so I love for friends outside of food and beverage world to watch, so they can understand the day to day life in a kitchen.

We have a lot of kitchen “toys” at work, some of which are used by the chefs on Top Chef.  The one fault I see in the show, is that the contestants use new, cutting edge cooking techniques, equipment, presentations and ideas, but don’t give a clear explanation for the viewers. (Perhaps they need a 2 hour time slot).  We recently had a “teach and learn” at work using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream, a method I have seen on Top Chef fairly often.  So I thought I would share the process, while you might not have a liquid nitrogen tank at home, you can at least know what the heck Richard Blais is doing!

The Tank! Saftey first!

Transferring the Liquid Nitrogen

We used Paula Deen’s recipe for Key Lime Pie filling, which is delicious!  Of course we used liquid nitrogen, but if you can make it at home in your ice cream maker too!

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 (12-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cups key lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon key lime zest
  • 1 pint half-and-half

Some of the Mise en Place for the Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed, beat cream until slightly thickened. Gradually add the sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Add condensed milk and beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in lime juice, lime zest, and half-and-half. Now you are ready for the ice cream maker, they all have slightly different directions, follow the method of the maker you have at home.  OR…go get yourself a liquid nitrogen tank, and do not forget the saftey mask and gloves!

Pour the liquid nitrogen into a manageable pitcher.

The Key Lime Pie filling is freezing in the mixer!

It's so cool to have the "smoke" blowing all over the place. They should do this in high school science classes!

I am refilling the pitcher, it takes a little more than I thought.

A little more and it should be nicely frozen. It took just minutes!

Voila, Key Lime Pie Ice Cream. Now I need a Graham Cracker Cone!

Now you are ready for the next Top Chef Auditions 🙂


Sweet Corn and Berry Ice Cream, an Ohio treasure travels south!

Sweet Corn and Berry Ice Cream- So unusual yet delicious!

On my recent trip to Ohio, I was fortunate enough to discover a few things, Sweets by Maggie Salted Caramel Cake Balls, Rockmill Brewery and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.  And I was even more fortunate to take home with me, Jeni’s recipes in her beautiful, smart cookbook, along with her offer to consult directly.  Thanks Jeni, I’ll call you if I need you, and yes, as you signed in my book, I will have many pleasures.  🙂

Mise en Place

This recipe is from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Cook Book.  I followed the instructions on my ice cream maker, make sure you do too!!

1 ear of sweet corn, husked
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoon) cream cheese, softened
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoon light corn syrup
Berry Sauce
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
½ cup sugar 

Local Berries


Combine the berries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 220 F (5-8 minutes).  Let cool slightly, then force thru a sieve to remove the seeds.  (Or leave them in there just to prove you made it.)  Refrigerate until cold before using.

Berries Cookin'


Prep Slice the kernels from the corn cob, the “milk” the cob by scraping it with the back of your knife to extract the liquid; reserve the kernels and liquid.

Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make smooth slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth

Fill a large bowl with ice and water

Soaking the Corn Flavor Up!

Cook Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn and juices, and corn syrup in a 4 quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat, and boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and for mixture thru a sieve into a bowl, leaving the corn “casing” behind.  Return the mixture to the saucepan and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.  Bring back to a boil over medium high heat and cook, stirring with a heat proof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.

Thru the Sieve- Squeeze every bit of flavor out you can!

Lil' Tip...if no one is around to hold your ziplock

Ice Bath- Shake it around to get it to cool even faster!

Chill Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.  Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziplock freezer bag and submerge into the ice bath.   Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Freeze Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy.

You Scream, I Scream!

Pack the ice cream into a storage container, alternating it with layers of the berry sauce and ending with a spoonful of the sauce; do not mix.  Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid.  Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Makes a generous quart

Sweet Corn and Berry Ice Cream-Quintessential Summer Treat!

I hope you enjoy this Ohio treasure as much as I do!