I have wanted to use hibiscus in ice cream for a long time. After trying other hibiscus flavors and doing a little research, I learned that the flavor is very tart and fruity.
Initially, the problem I ran into was finding dried hibiscus. Although I eventually found I could order it online, I never got around to it. On a recent trip to visit a friend in Columbus, Ohio, I came upon a spice shop in the famous North Market and the shop happened to carry dried hibiscus powder. Even though the package contained much more powder than I needed, I scooped it up.
Jeni's makes a Grapefruit Hibiscus Yogurt, but I was not interested in making the same flavor. Since I had a few extremely juicy limes left on my lime tree (which is now sadly bare), I decided tart lime could also be a nice complement to the hibiscus flower. Mmmmm. Tart, floral and fruity notes hint the palate together with the tang of yogurt in this scoop. Enjoy!
Hibiscus Lime Frozen Yogurt
Adapted from recipe in Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Get ready to make a pucker face, because this scoop is pleasingly tart. To make it a little less tart, cut back on the dried hibiscus powder. Start with about half the powder and add more to your liking. [Leftover hibiscus? Apparently dried hibiscus powder is a great ingredient in cocktails, but I have yet to try it.]
1 quart plain whole milk or low-fat yogurt
Zest of 3 limes
3 Tablespoons + 2/3 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons dried hibiscus powder
To prepare yogurt, place a sieve over a medium bowl and line the sieve with two layers of cheesecloth. Scoop yogurt into the sieve, cover, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours (liquid will drain from yogurt). Discard liquid and measure 1 1/4 cups strained yogurt. Set yogurt aside for use in base.
To make lime syrup, remove large strips of zest from 3 limes using a vegetable peeler; set aside. Halve and squeeze limes, removing enough juice to measure 1/2 cup. Combine lime juice and 3 Tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan. Over medium heat bring juice and sugar to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
To make the frozen yogurt base, begin by mixing 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry. In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth. Set a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and set aside. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.
Combine the remaining milk with heavy cream, remaining 2/3 cup sugar, corn syrup and lime zest in a large saucepan. Bring milk mixture to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, 4 minutes. Remove from heat and off the heat gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Pour reserved 1 1/4 cup strained yogurt, lime syrup, and dried hibiscus powder. Whisk until smooth. Set the bowl in the ice water bath and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cool, about 20 minutes.
Chill the mixture thoroughly (at least 4 hours or overnight). Once ice cream base is chilled, remove lime zest and pour into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Place plastic or parchment over ice cream (to prevent ice crystals) and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.