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Lemon(cello) Creamy Sorbet

May 28, 2010

Those of you who know me might have tasted my homemade hooch. It’s super lemony and kicks you in the bee-hind if you’re not careful. I’ve been trying to come up with some uses for it other than drinking and remembered that in Italy it is drizzled over cake or vanilla ice cream and is molto buono. Back stateside, my family has a long tradition of ice cream making. Every 4th of July we hand crank several batches and have done so since I was a kid. My Dad tells us about going out to his uncles farm in South Bend along the St. Joe River where they were sure to get ice cream, always homemade. And my great-grandfather, who was the oldest living Civil War veteran in our town (Wilmette, IL), treated the village to ice cream every year for his birthday. I broke tradition years ago and bought an electric ice cream maker in which I’ve made many tasty batches of both creamy, super rich ice cream and some lighter sorbets. One of my favorites is a mango and lime sorbet/frozen yogurt because I like the way the sweet mango plays off the tangy plain yogurt and tart lime. So, with limoncello in mind I was looking on line for ideas for a lemon sorbet or gelato-like recipe and found quite a few great ideas. One blogger writes that a little alcohol in sorbet keeps it from getting too hard. Great tip. Another was more perplexing as the recipe was written in French so I did my best to translate. My French classes started in 7th grade and continued into college but without practice I’ve lost most of it so thanks to yet another blog I learned that lait ribot, the only ingredient I couldn’t translate, is more or less buttermilk. O.K. NOW, don’t turn your nose up so quickly. It turned out really well and the tangy taste of the “fermented milk” is delicious with the tart lemon. Ahhh, a match made in heaven and another reason to love the French. For sweetening it, I used a combination of organic agave nectar and some amazing orange blossom honey we brought home from Italy last summer. One large lemon and a little of my homemade limoncello and schazam! Sucess on the first attempt. It’s great to be able to cobble together different ideas and come up with something that tastes so good.

P.S. to the ATF, I don’t run a still in my basement.

Creamy Lemon Sorbet

This makes about 1 1/2 quarts of creamy, frozen tartness

1 pint of buttermilk

zest of 1 large lemon (if you use a microplane be sure to chop the longer strands into tiny pieces so they don’t clump together when freezing)

1/4 cup lemon juice – should be what comes out of the lemon you zested

2/3 cup (less 1 Tbsp) sugar, honey, agave nectar or any combination of these

2 Tbsp. limoncello

This is how easy it is. Whisk all ingredients together, chill for an hour in the fridge or 15 minutes in the freezer. Transfer to the bowl of your ice cream maker and press “on”. In about 20 minutes it’s done. Like all ice cream it’s best if it is allowed to “set up” for a few hours, for as frozen as the ice cream maker can get it, it needs a little resting time to hold together. You only need a little bit of this as it is so flavorful so I served it in condiment bowls.


Honey bought in la foresta umbra – in Gargano (Puglia) Italy.

Simple mixture of buttermilk, lemon juice and zest, agave nectar,

honey and limoncello

In the ice cream freezer

Serve in small portions – this is about 2 tablespoons

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Linnea permalink
    May 28, 2010 9:35 am

    OMGoodness that looks so beautiful! What ice cream maker are you using now that you’re not “cranking”?

  2. May 28, 2010 11:38 am

    We still hand crank on the 4th of July (you should come over!)but for a quickie I keep the Krups freezer bowl always ready to go. I’ve had it for years but think the model we sell at Crate and Barrel is about the same. I have to say, even tho’ you know this, that I work at C&B for FTC rules.

  3. brc permalink
    May 29, 2010 5:29 am

    Amy what I absolutely love about your blog is that not only do you always have these FABULOUS recipes, but you tell us about them in a way that I feel part of your family and your history. The stories that accompany the recipes are both entertaining and touching. And the way you write makes me want to read more.

    Keep those recipes coming!!!

  4. May 29, 2010 8:01 am

    Thank you brc, that means alot to me. I’m glad you are enjoying both the recipes and the writing. It’s fun to combine these all and I love taking the pictures as well. I’ll try to keep them interesting. Making Peach sorbet right now. I used to get peach frozen yogurt at the Neiman Marcus cafe in Dallas and it was so peachy and good. We’ll see if this turns out and if it does, I’ll post it. Tried it with the buttermilk and some yogurt since the lemon was so good. I figure the only way to know is to try.


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