After Sublime Key Lime by Front Porch left me broken hearted, could Blue Bell's long standing tradition of nailing Southern classics persevere here? Unsuccessful in tracking down Ben & Jerry's Key Lime Pie at the time, as well as being unable to find Blue Bell's Key Lime Pie in a pint, I had to splurge for the half gallon cauldron. Investing in such a large quantity of something you've never tried is always risqué. Especially when it's a flavor no one seems to have effectively churned out. There's nothing worse than having a half gallon tub of some terrible flavor that is destined for a freezer burned finish and ultimately ending up in the trash can. Would I enjoy this enough to eat the equivalent of four pints and avoid it being condemned to the depths of my freezer for all of eternity? Blue Bell's backbone seems to be in recreating frozen forms of Southern-inspired sweets. Living in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida over the past 6 years, I can tell you that once you cross that border from The Peach State into the Sunshine State all that Southern hospitality is left behind. The people, the places and the general politeness is thrown to the wind. And Key West is barely even in Florida. You can see Cuba from it's coast. It's so south, it's not really even the South. Blue Bell may be stepping outside of their expertise here.
Removing the giant, golden lid from this pail I was greeted with a slightly-yellow layer striped with whipped topping that was slightly more white than the key lime base. Only a few tiny tidbits of pie crust peered through. Where Front Porch's portrayal of Key Lime ice cream was a lime green color, Blue Bell's beared a slight-yellow tint. Had they confused lemon and limes? Because I've certainly never seen a lime with this luminosity, especially a Key Lime. Scooping out a hearty helping into a big bowl, I couldn't help but notice a curiously, crumbly texture. It didn't possess that patented consistency of other Blue Bell offerings. It was hard to explain. It popped out of the carton in chunks, rather than rolling into a ball on the spoon. Blue Bell boasts that this flavor, "Contains sweet and tangy key lime ice cream blended with crunchy graham cracker crust and a creamy whipped topping swirl."
The first bite was tremendously tart. The claim that this key lime ice cream was sweet was a sham. Perhaps their sugar supply subsided prior to producing my package because I certainly didn't pick up any signs of sweetness. These mix-ins better be dressed in their Sunday's best in order to counteract this tanginess. When I finally found some of the whipped topping, it added some much needed sweetness. It was the same light, aerated accompaniment that Blue Bell embedded in their Banana Pudding. Then came the pie crust pieces and one of the biggest let downs in ice cream history. The chunks were chewy, but lacked the flakiness and flavor profile of those in Ben & Jerry's Banana Cream Pie.
Perhaps if Blue Bell had been able to perfectly pull off the pie pieces and whipped topping, this could have been saved. But they didn't. Not even close. Two failed key lime flavors later, I'm beginning to lose hope. Maybe this is just one of those flavors that is best served by the slice. It's a problematic pie to produce in the first place, so I can only imagine how difficult fabricating a frozen version could prove to be.
Where I Found It: Ingles Markets