At Lemon Sherbert, it seems only fitting for our first recipe to be lemon sherbet. First, let’s discuss some of the differences between this recipe and most others. We like “dynamic recipes.” You perform these recipes in stages. In other words, we guarantee a good result. This is because even if you mess up a stage, the base product is still complete and delicious.
To begin, making lemon sherbet can be very simple or very difficult, depending on the bells and whistles you choose to add. However, turning a simple sherbet into restaurant quality involves just a few steps. Regardless, start with the base ingredients of lemon juice and zest (optional), sugar, and heavy cream. From there, add a few tablespoons of alcohol. This keeps the sherbet from forming ice crystals as easily. It also makes for a softer, more scoop-able final product. Finally, incorporate an Italian meringue for a professional finish. Egg whites add air and stability. They also deliver more sweetness to cut down the sour of the lemon.Jump to Recipe
Ice Cream Makers
Don’t have an ice cream maker? For this recipe, it doesn’t really matter. If you have an ice cream maker and would like to use it, please do so. Going this route will be easier and faster. Start by setting your machine to its normal settings. If making the basic sherbet, allow the mixture to churn to the desired consistency and then serve or store in the freezer. If you plan to include the meringue, churn the sherbet to a soft consistency. Then fold in the meringue and continue churning until everything is combined. In the event, you are like me (and most average joes), you don’t own an ice cream maker. That’s okay. You’ll only have to wash a few more dishes.
Start with a large ziplock bag. Pour the sherbet mixture into the bag, push out all the air, and lay the bag flat. The mixture should be like a pancake. Then put the bag in the freezer for a few hours. It should be hardened. Remove the bag and bend it to break up the sherbet. Empty the bag into a food processor or bowl. Turn on the food processor or mix with the hand mixer until the sherbet is soft again. It should be around the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. If making the basic lemon sherbet, transfer the mix to a freezer safe container and freeze or serve. If you are incorporating the meringue, stir it in now and pulse or mix some more. Then transfer your sherbet to the freezer to finish hardening. For a visual, see the video below by FOOD&WINE on Youtube.
It is important for this recipe, also, to know your meringues. Italian meringue is made by whisking egg whites to a soft peak, stirring in a sugar syrup, and whisking some more until you reach a hard peak. It isn’t exactly easy. In fact, Italian meringues are the most difficult type but are necessary for this recipe. While other (easier) versions of meringue would work, they pose a health risk of salmonella because sherbet is not cooked. One way around this is to buy and use pasteurized eggs such as Eggland’s best eggs or Safest Choice. This is generally what I do because it is so much easier. If you don’t have access or like a challenge, see the video below by Martha Stewart on Youtube for an in-depth explanation.
Making a sugar syrup
In her video, Martha uses a candy thermometer and a kitchen aid stand mixer. The stand mixer can be easily replaced by a hand mixer with whisk attachments or a regular whisk and some elbow grease. The candy thermometer, while harder to replicate, can still be substituted with a little sugar knowledge. Bring the sugar to the “soft ball” stage and immediately remove it from heat. See this video by noreenlou on Youtube for a visual and great explanation.
Sherbet is daunting, especially for beginners. Start with the basic recipe below and add as you go. I have two favorite things about this recipe. 1. I only ever have to buy a few lemons. The rest is already in my kitchen. And 2. It is practically fool-proof. By going in stages, this recipe ensures that no matter what, you will have sherbet. Even if you reach stage three and your meringue flops (it happens to the best of us), it is not going to ruin the final product. So just go for it. Did you do it? Leave a comment below and let us know how you did.
- Ice Cream Maker
- Kitchenaid Mixer
- Small pot
- 2 Lemon's zest (optional)
- 2 cups Lemon juice
- 2 tbsp Vodka or other alcohol (optional)
- 2 1/2 cups Sugar granulated white- 1 cup for the sugar syrup and 1 1/2 for the sherbet
- 1 1/2 cup Water 1 cup for sherbet, 1/2 for sugar syrup
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 2 Egg just the whites
Stage 1- The Basics
- Combine lemon juice, lemon zest, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of water, and heavy cream.
- If making basic sherbet, place into ice cream maker, churn, and freeze
Stage 2- Vodka
- For a softer sherbet and less ice crystals, add your vodka.
- If stopping at stage 2, Churn and Freeze (or serve), If not place mixture in an ice cream maker and begin churning.
Stage 3- Italian Meringue
- For the meringue, begin by whisking the egg whites to a soft peak & at the same time, heat your sugar syrup to the "soft ball" stage in a small pot ,
- Remove the sugar syrup from the heat ,
- Slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites. Be careful not to splash yourself. The sugar is very hot.
- Continue to whisk until you reach a hard peak,
- Add to your sherbet, fold in (careful not to let out all the air), and mix gently until combined,
- Return the sherbet to the freezer in a freezer safe container,
- Allow to fully set and serve!
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