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lemon sherbet in lemon cup.

Lemon Sherbet Recipe (without an ice cream machine)

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Combining the best of both worlds, a lemon sherbet has the light and refreshing quality of a sorbet with a creaminess that brings it closer to ice cream. Served in lemon cups for a unique display, this sherbet is the perfect summer dessert for lemon lovers. And if you’d like to add more color, the lemon sherbet pairs incredibly well with the strawberry sorbet we made last time!

What Is A Sherbet?

An American sherbet is a sorbet (fruit ice) – composed of a fruit juice, water and sugar- to which milk and/or cream have been added. The dairy ingredients will yield a richer product and a smoother texture, making sherbets less grainy than sorbets. Sherbets might occasionally also contain pasteurized egg whites, for smoothness and airiness.

Making Lemon Sherbet, Step-by-Step

Prepare the lemon sherbet base

  • Freeze a large metal baking pan. I used a 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inches) pan.
  • Cut the washed lemons in two. If you wish to make lemon cups, cut the lemons about 2/3 of the way. You will need the taller lemon piece for the lemon cups. If you want to add lemon zest to your sherbet, grate the smaller (top 1/3) piece.
  • Squeeze the lemons then strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl.
  • Add the sugar and stir. Pour the room temperature water and combine. Let it sit for a few minutes if needed until the sugar has fully dissolved. If you are using cold lemons from the fridge, you might need to wait a bit longer.
  • Pour in the heavy cream and milk and stir until fully combined. The mixture might look curdled at this point. Don’t worry about it. Just do your best to get a homogeneous mixture. Taste the mixture and add more sugar if needed. Then pour it into the frozen baking pan. Cover and freeze for about 4 hours, or until completely frozen.

Mix the lemon sherbet for a smoother texture

  • Slightly thaw the sherbet at room temperature then break up the ice crystals by using a hand mixer, food processor or blender. The sherbet will look slightly lighter in color and will be smoother, but still frozen.
  • Serve immediately if desired or pour into a small freezer safe container (or back into the baking pan) and freeze.

Prepare lemon cups for the lemon sherbet

  • Using a large spoon, scoop out the inside of the lemon (remaining pulp and membrane).
  • Slice a little bit off the bottom of the lemon so that it stands.
  • Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate until needed.

And that’s it! To serve the lemon sherbet, resist the urge to eat it straight away and battle with the ice cream scoop! Let it thaw at room temperature for about 5 minutes then scoop it into the lemon cups (or bowls). Decorate with a few mint sprigs and enjoy! This lemon sherbet is so refreshing and has an amazing lemon kick! I hope you’ll love it too!

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Lemon Sherbet

4 from 4 votes
Recipe by Tanya Course: DessertDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Freezing time

4

hours 

A lemon sherbet is a light and refreshing sorbet (fruit ice) to which milk and cream have been added, making it creamier than a sorbet. Served in lemon cups for a unique display, this sherbet is the perfect icy dessert for lemon lovers.

Ingredients

  • 150 ml 150 (5.1 fl oz.) freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 3-4 medium-sized lemons

  • 100 g 100 (3.5 oz.) granulated sugar, or to taste

  • 150 ml 150 (5.1 fl oz.) water, room temperature

  • 80 g 80 (79 ml, 2.7 fl oz.) heavy cream, 35% fat

  • 75 g 75 (73 ml, 2.5 fl oz.) whole milk

Directions

  • Freeze a large metal baking pan. I used a 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inches) pan.
  • Strain the lemon juice through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Note: If you wish to make lemon cups, cut the lemons in two about 2/3 of the way before squeezing them. You will need the taller lemon piece for the lemon cups. If you want to add lemon zest to your sherbet, grate the smaller (top 1/3) piece.
  • Add the sugar and stir. Pour the room temperature water and combine. Let it sit for a few minutes if needed until the sugar has fully dissolved. If you are using cold lemons from the fridge, you might need to wait a bit longer. Optional: In the meantime, prepare the lemon cups, if desired. Using a large spoon, scoop out the inside of the lemon (remaining pulp and membrane). Slice a little bit off the bottom of the lemon so that it stands. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate until needed.
  • Pour the heavy cream and milk into the lemon juice mixture and stir until fully combined. The mixture might look curdled at this point. Don’t worry about it. Just do your best to get a homogeneous mixture. Taste the mixture and add more sugar if needed. Then pour it into the frozen baking pan. Cover and freeze for about 4 hours, or until completely frozen. For a smoother texture, it’s best to start mixing the sherbet sooner (see recipe notes).
  • Slightly thaw the sherbet at room temperature for a few minutes then break up the ice crystals using a food processor, blender or hand mixer (transfer the sherbet to a chilled mixing bowl first so you don’t damage your pan). The sherbet will look slightly lighter in color and will be smoother, but still frozen. Serve immediately if desired or pour into a small freezer safe container (or back into the baking pan) and freeze, well covered. To serve the lemon sherbet: Let it thaw slightly at room temperature for about 5 minutes (for a smoother texture) then scoop it into the lemon cups (or bowls). Decorate with a few mint sprigs and enjoy!

Notes

  • Sherbet texture: The more you mix the sherbet during freezing, the smoother the texture will be. You could freeze the sherbet (step 4) then mix it every 30-60 minutes for 4 hours instead of mixing it once at the end. Alternatively, you can use an ice cream machine if you have one.
  • Using an ice cream machine: Prepare the sherbet mixture until step 4 then refrigerate, covered, until completely chilled. Churn in the frozen ice cream bowl then serve immediately or pour into a freezer safe container and freeze until needed.
  • The water in the recipe will make the sherbet more refreshing. But it will also make it slightly more icy. If you prefer, you can replace part of the water with milk or cream (i.e. less icy). The sherbet won’t feel as cold however.

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2 Comments

  1. Can this recipe be put into ice cream pint containers? Will it freeze?

    • Hey Lisa! When you prepare the sherbet mixture, it’s best to pour it into a flat container so that it freezes faster and doesn’t become too grainy. After you mix the frozen sherbet to make it smoother (step 5), you can store it in an ice cream pint container. Hope this answers your question!

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