Scooped: The Most Lemony Lemon Ice Cream


I scream, you scream, we all scream for...


[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

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If you've only ever had lemon sorbet, give lemon ice cream a chance. Sweet and tart, light and creamy, more than a little like lemon meringue pie, it's a beautiful expression of citrus with greater substance than a watery sorbet. This ice cream gets its lemon flavor from three sources: zest steeped into the base, candied whole lemons stirred in during the churn, and a healthy dose of lemon juice for a jolt of puckering tartness.

You may be asking, "Won't my dairy curdle if I add lemon juice to it?" If we were talking about milk that'd be true, but the base of this ice cream custard is mostly cream cut with a little half and half, plus plenty of sugar and egg proteins. All that fat will protect the dairy from curdling into big chunks.

The candied lemons that get stirred into the ice cream require more work: slicing them thinly, seeding them, then blanching them three times in three changes of water before cooking in a syrup for 20 minutes. You can find a full how-to on this technique in Lauren Weisenthal's excellent post on candied lemon zest. Although I'm using whole lemons, the procedure and ingredients are essentially the same.

This requires a little effort, but not much time. Start candying your lemons once the ice cream base is done and you'll be finished before the custard has a chance to cool. You can scale the candied lemon recipe up as needed, and the lemons will keep for weeks, so there's no reason not to make a bunch and save it for later. Extra lemon syrup makes some very nice sweet tea.