Life was “in the way” last week, so it has been a long gap between posts. We get a little twitchy if we don’t get to cook, so it is nice to be back. Happily, we still have Meyer lemons on the tree. But time is running short on our favorite citrus, so we made lemon sorbet to get ourselves back on the “blogging track”. After all, if life gives you lemons, make lemon sorbet (umm….or something like that….maybe Lemondrops….whatever).
And there are few desserts that give you this much flavor for so little effort. Lemons, water, sugar (maybe a touch of booze- we will explain). Heat, then cold. That is really it. You do need an ice cream maker (although granita is another option), but ice cream makers are cheap, most work well, and you get a good return on your investment. We think smiles make for good ROI. And with summer coming, sorbet will please just about anyone.
But, like all good things, there are a few tips and techniques that will make your sorbet
kick serious a$$ the best it can be. Sorbet is basically frozen fruit juice and extra sugar. Pretty simple stuff. But you can control the flavor and texture. For flavor, first pick good fruit. Second, if using citrus add some zest into the mixture. There is a lot of flavor in the zest, so it you want more depth, this is the way to get it. You can put the zest into the final sorbet mixture, and that is OK, but it is best to incorporate the zest into the sugar syrup to extract the most flavor. (If you are hardcore you can make an oleo- saccharum syrup– see here.) Once you get the flavor of the zest you can keep it or strain it, your call. We strain. And we add a touch of Limoncello to the sorbet, this does add flavor, but it is really about texture.
And texture is where the action is. Good fruit gives your sorbet good flavor. But technique gives your sorbet that magically soft, yet still “icy”, texture. Happily, the techniques are easy. To start, just be sure that your mixture is well-chilled when you put it into the ice cream maker / churn. The colder the mixture, the smaller the ice crystals. The smaller the ice crystals, the smoother the sorbet. You can chill the mixture in the fridge or, if you are in a hurry, use an ice bath. But you need the mixture to be under 45 degrees. The other tip is to add a touch of booze. Alcohol inhibits freezing and ice crystal formation- so a few tablespoons of spirits (maybe of Limoncello, vodka or Sauternes if you have it), will smooth out your sorbet. You can omit this step, but it is a negligible amount of alcohol, and the results will be worth it.
If you follow these steps, you will have some very tasty sorbet. It doesn’t need anything extra. But in case you want to take things to the next level, you may want to drizzle on some sour cherry syrup. Sour cherry lemonade sorbet? Oh yes. And if you really want to impress, put a scoop of the sorbet in a cocktail class and then fill the glass halfway with champagne. Oh my….
Meyer Lemon Sorbet:
Notes Before You Start:
- You can use any fresh lemon juice with this recipe, we might just add a bit more sugar if using something other than Meyers.
- When using lemon zest try to include as little of the bitter white pith as possible. It is worth a little extra effort.
What You Get: Lemon sorbet with very smooth texture. A treat for summer. (It is closer than you think!)
What You Need: An ice cream maker / churn. No other special equipment required.
How Long? 2-6 hours total, but with only a few minutes of active time. Anytime dish…or at least you can start at any time.
(Makes about 1 1/2 pints)
- 6-8 large Meyer lemons (you will need at least 1 cup of juice)
- Zest from 2 of the Meyer lemons
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup very cold water
- 2 tablespoons Limoncello or other spirit
- Combine 1 cup water, sugar and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Chill the mixture in a water bath or in the fridge for a few hours. Strain the zest from the syrup, if you like.
- Meanwhile, juice the lemons until you get at least 1 cup of juice. Strain to remove seeds, extra pulp and pith. Combine with the 1 cup of cold water and the Limoncello. Stir to combine and then chill with an ice bath or in the fridge.
- Combine the lemon juice and syrup mixtures and make they chill to under 45 degrees (and lower is fine). Stir the mixture and then pour into your ice cream maker. Follow the instructions from your ice cream maker.
- Once the sorbet is semi-soft, place it into a chilled, airtight container and into the freezer. Let the sorbet set for at least an hour, 2 will be better. Serve.
- Recipe Adventure: Meyer Lemon Sorbet (visualheart.wordpress.com)
- Grapefruit Sorbet (pompandcircumstance.wordpress.com)
- Apr 2013 wk2 -DIY Strawberry Sorbet for Spring (thediyshow.com)
- Lemon Sorbet : A cold, zingy treat to relish on a hot summer afternoon (foodfashionmakeup.wordpress.com)
- mango-kombucha sorbet …a probiotic palate cleanser! (omamas.com)
Thanks for such detailed and useful sorbet advice!
I’ve still only used my ice cream maker for ice cream, but have been dreaming of making fruit sorbets now that it’s warmer out. The Limoncello tip is a great one, and I’m sure it’d go well with lots of other sorbet flavors besides lemon, especially blackberry or raspberry!
Thanks- hope you enjoy making sorbet (we love it- good fun). The Limoncello is very good with berries…nice call.
Some sweet white wines also work well for flavor and texture…
Yummy! We share an intense love for lemons and needless to say, this is awesome! I have to admit the only time I had limoncello was in Capri a long time ago, and I thought it was awful and never tried it again. I will have to reassess my opinion since it would be great to add to lemon granitas and sorbets.
Thanks. Limoncello can be very good or very, very bad. It depends on the amount of white pith that gets into the liqueur. If you have a good liquor store ask for a recommendation- the one we have is good enough to sip (but we use it mostly as a dessert ingredient or cocktail accent).
Is there a particular “brand” you recommend?
The Meletti we use has a lot of fans- a bit more sour, yet not bitter. Also good in cocktails, particularly in versions of Lemondrops and white Manhattan variants…
Thanks! Will be on the lookout for that brand.
Looks sooo good, especially with the Limoncello and sour cherry syrup! I’ve had a blackberry Cabernet sorbet that was amazing – love a bit of spirits included for that wonderful texture. Thanks for brightening my day!
Thank you for the idea of blackberry cabernet sorbet…we may have to “reverse engineer” that….;-)
Thanks for your inspiration! (By the way, it’s a Haagen Daz flavor….check it out!)
We will- thanks!
Sounds awesome! Do u know how much juice comes from the 6 lemons? Want to make sure I have enough/ don’t have too much…
Sorry- you want 1 cup of juice plus just a bit more (you lose a few teaspoons when you strain the juice). I will update the recipe. Thanks.
Welcome back! A lovely lemon post 🙂
Thanks…happy to be back in the kitchen and garden!
My mouth is watering. I just finished dinner, and now I want this lovely sorbet for dessert.
True story: Today we had a terrible snowstorm. The wind and snow were so heavy you couldn’t see 200 metres ahead of you. But the photo you posted of those lovely lemons has cheered me immensely.
Thanks! And we are certainly in different places…it is so unseasonably hot here that our roses are blooming early and literally “frying” on the vine..
Maybe we can both hope for something in between!
This sounds delicious on a summer day- while sittin on your porch, with your feet kicked up enjoying the sun. Will have to save this recipe for the perfect day.
Very good for summer- hope you enjoy it…
That looks good, I love lemons! How do you like your ice cream attachment? I’m debating about getting an ice cream attachment for my kitchen aid or an ice cream machine.
We really like the KitchenAid attachement- the only issue is that you can only make so much at a time before you refreeze the cannister. That is true for most ice cream machines, as well..but FYI.
As it is we have a more “pro” machine but the KitchenAid gets 95% of the work…
Good to know! Thanks for this info, I think I will get one!
This has serious deliciousness factor. Can I ask, why exactly do you specify ‘Meyer’ lemons? I’ve noticed this term on a lot of US blogs & in Australia there doesn’t seem to be a distinction – the grocery store signs just say plain ol’ ‘lemons’…
Meyers are a mix of lemons and tangerines. They have the same lemon juice flavor but with less acidity. Overall, just a “softer” flavor. The color tends to be a bit more yellow. Meyers grow prolifically in backyards in the western US- so we use them a lot.
Regular lemons are usually “Eureka” lemons. Still good, just a bit more acidic and usually require a bit more sugar in some recipes.
The lemon sorbet looks so refreshing!
Thanks- it is great on a hot day…
Sorbet is not my thing … but I put lemon sorbet on one of our menus .. while working in Sweden – and we served it with a small shot of Absolut vodka over it .. just before serving – very popular and even I liked it. And we frosted the glass edge with help of egg white and sugar. No sorbet isn’t anything I will eat or order on a restaurant. Only frozen fruit water …. but I love the color of yours.
We seem to have skipped over Spring and jumped right into Summer here (apparently the tomato plants didn’t get the memo) and this sounds light and refreshing. Looks amazing, too.
Thanks- we skipped right to summer here as well. Just got our first tomato blossoms. And picking blueberries already…
Ah refreshing–what pretty lemons!
Thanks…we have to do something to use them up…you may see more in the next few weeks…
Made this for some friends who came over for dinner last night. I added about a tablespoon of lavender to the syrup to steep (and then strained it) and served it with a blackberry/mint compote. OMG. Thank you.
Thanks for letting us know- that sounds great. A touch of lavender with the lemons rocks…
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