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The Return of Ben & Jerry's Limited Batch Key Lime Pie

"Lime ice cream? Come on, how often do you come across that?"

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[Photographs: Brad Thomas Parsons]

Since I've already sampled all of the spring 2010 Ben & Jerry's flavors, including the under-the-radar Flourless Chocolate Cake, I'm usually on auto-pilot when I walk past their pints at the grocery store. The other day, though, two of my favorite words—"Limited Batch"—jumped out at me, emblazoned across a pint of Key Lime Pie.

I placed the pint in my shopping cart but immediately had a sense of déjà vu. I already knew about this flavor, didn't I? Hadn't I already tried this?

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Sometimes Ben & Jerry's can be guilty of billing a flavor as "New!" long after the honeymoon phase (I'm talking about you, Mission to Marzipan), like those storefronts perpetually decorated with "Going Out of Business!" banners. Key Lime Pie isn't listed on their website but it looks like—and Ben & Jerry enthusiasts and/or flavor gurus, correct me if I'm wrong—this is a Limited Batch edition that debuted last summer, and is now being put back into rotation as a seasonal flavor.

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Key Lime Pie consists of "Lime Ice Cream with a Tangy Lime Twist, Fluffy Meringue Swirl & Pie Crust Pieces." Let's begin with a tip of my hat to this unique flavor—one that really stands out from all of the chocolate and vanilla iterations stocking supermarket freezers. Lime ice cream? Come on, how often do you come across that?

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To Monday-morning-quarterback the pint a bit, though, I was really bracing for—and expecting—a solid pucker factor, but they played it safe with the lime ice cream. It was far too mild and lacked any real zing. The "tangy lime twists" were appropriately sour and brought me back to key lime pie territory. I really dug the marshmallow-like meringue swirls, but for the crust pieces, I wish they had gone with a graham cracker swirl (like their Strawberry Cheesecake) rather than flaky crust pieces.

Overall this flavor reminded me more of the topping of a key lime pie rather than the filling, but it isn't anything I'd send back to the kitchen, especially if eating poolside on a hot day.

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The lack of sour in this got me thinking about one of my favorite desserts from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Sour Orange Pie. There's never a crumb left on the pie plate when I make this—I'm already thinking how to adapt this recipe for my take on a perfect-for-summer Sour Orange Creamsicle.

About the author: Brad Thomas Parsons is a Seattle-based writer who has interviewed many of the food world's biggest names, including David Chang, Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, Danny Meyer, Ina Garten, Jamie Oliver, Paula Deen, and Giada De Laurentiis, among others. He is currently at work on his first book, Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails and Recipes.

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