Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over 20 years. She has cooked on multiple television stations, including the Food Network.
Perfect Recipe for Homemade Lemon Sorbet
I adore lemon—I think I'd choose lemon over chocolate most of the time. There's something about lemon that just screams "fresh," and lemon sorbet is one of my all-time favorites.
Sorbet is like ice cream's older, more sophisticated cousin. Almost always made with fruit juices, they differ from sherbets and ice creams in one critical way: sorbets don't contain any dairy. This makes them the perfect decadent treat when you're avoiding dairy for any reason. They still contain lots of sugar, so you can't call them health food by any means, but take your justifications where you can get them.
Sorbets are made with simple syrup, which is a mixture of sugar and water. The easiest way is to churn them in an ice cream maker, but you don't need a machine if you don't have one. Place your simple syrup and fruit juice mixture in the freezer and set a timer. Every 30 minutes, stir the freezing sorbet with a couple of forks. This will loosen the mixture and mimic the same texture that you get with an ice cream churn.
This recipe works just as well with any fresh citrus juice, so indulge. Make some for yourself and see!
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 lemons, zested
- 12 lemons, juiced (2 cups of lemon juice)
- 1 tablespoon vodka (optional)
Note: The vodka really isn't necessary if you are going to serve the sorbet within about 24 hours. But it does help keep it loose enough to scoop if you want to make it ahead.
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- Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and simmer until sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and allow the simple sugar mixture to come down to room temperature—or chill it, which is even better. The cooler the sugar water (simple syrup) mixture is when you put it in the ice cream maker, the better the results will be.
- Once chilled, pour simple syrup, lemon juice, and lemon zest into the chilled container of an ice cream maker. Churn according to manufacturer's directions, until chilled and with body. Serve immediately if you wish—it will be very, very soft. You can also transfer it to a container in the freezer and allow it to harden off.
Note: If you choose to use vodka, it will help to keep the sorbet workable once hardened off in the freezer. This particular recipe tends to stay workable anyway, but your freezer may be set extra cold, and the alcohol helps keep it scoopable. If you want to make it ahead by a couple of days, you may want to check it to make sure it hasn't hardened too much—depending on your freezer setting, you may end up with a giant lemon popsicle. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be hard to serve. A little splash of vodka helps keep that from happening, and allows you to make it ahead if you wish.
Fresh Lemon Zest Is Key
Real Lemon Juice: Get Ready to Squeeze
Zest First, Then Squeeze
Ice Cream Churns Make It Easy
How to Zest a Lemon
© 2019 Jan Charles