Tart Lemon Ice Cream

August 25, 2011

Whisked, not churned.

I've been craving something lemony, spoon-worthy and soft. I thought that a lemon meringue pie 'flavored' yogurt would satisfy my need for a lemon fix, but it didn't taste like a lemon...or a pie. I tried. About once a year I try to like yogurt, and knitting.

Growing up, I loathed yogurt. My parents called it 'dessert', I called it gross. There was something disturbing about fact that the 'fruit at the bottom' sank to the bottom, while the clump of yogurt, which so rudely sat upon the sweet helpless fruit, tasted like morning breath. All I wanted was a sugary Snoopy Sno-Cone, or a nice lemon to suck on (something I did quite often, much to my parent's dismay). Yes, the lemon obsession started early.

Today I have a better appreciation for yogurt, but only if it's Greek. And just for the record, I liked Greek yogurt long before it was trendy to like Greek yogurt.

But given the choice, I'd still rather eat ice cream...or sno-cones.

Am I on my way to becoming a full-time member of the ice cream fan club? Maybe. Is the order loving neat-freak even more excited by the fact that she can make her own ice cream without a bulky, intrusive space-hording machine? Definitely!

If you have a seemingly unquenchable craving for something tart, creamy, and smooth, look no further than this lemon ice cream. You don't even need a machine. And unlike yogurt, you won't feel the need to brush your teeth after only a few spoonfuls. The recipe is unbelievably easy. If you insist on being contrary *hand raise*, I guess you could argue that the overnight freezing period is a downfall and not at all easy. But if that contrary nature is balanced with a need for instant gratification, you could just as easily enjoy this as a 'loose' custard (and by loose, I mean grab a funnel and a bib).

However you decide to enjoy it, this recipe is scrumptious, especially if you need your lemons in the form of something forgivably-fattening.

Tart Lemon Ice Cream (adapted from Epicurious) Print

Zest of 3 lemons
1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
3/4 cup of sugar (if you prefer a sweeter ice cream, increase the amount of sugar to 1 cup)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3 eggs
1 cup of half & half
1/4 teaspoon of pure almond extract
1 cup of heavy cream

Have a large, heat proof bowl and sieve on stand-by.
In a medium heavy bottom saucepan, combine the zest, juice, sugar, and eggs. Whisk to combine. Stir in the half & half, and almond extract.
Over medium-high heat, while whisking constantly, cook the mixture just until it comes to a gentle simmer (don't allow it to boil).
Remove from the heat and strain mixture through the sieve into the heat proof bowl. {Note: If bits of zest manage to get through, don't worry, if anything it will make the ice cream even better!}
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap refrigerate until cool to the touch.
Remove from the fridge and whisk in the cup of heavy cream.
If you have an ice cream machine, follow the manufacturer's directions. If not, continue reading!

Place the cool mixture into a large, shallow pan or a stainless steel ice cream container...anything that comes with a well-fitting cover {Note: I used a rectangle 2-quart Pyrex pan that came with a lid.}
Place the pan or container, uncovered, into the freezer.
Every 30 minutes or so, give the mixture a good stir. This will help prevent too many ice crystals from forming. Continue doing this for about 2 hours, or until it firms up a bit. {Note: depending on how cold your freezer is, this may take longer.}
Once it becomes semi-firm, cover well and allow the ice cream to chill overnight. {Note: This ice cream will never get hard, so don't worry, it's supposed to have a lovely, soft texture.}

Serve as desired!


  1. I've often toyed with the idea of getting the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid mixer, but why bother when you can produce beautiful ice cream like that by hand?

    Spectacular work, Valerie! That looks delightful, and I will bet the lemon flavor was both rich and refreshing!

  2. Lemon ice cream ... that doesn't require an ice cream maker ... that always has a lovely, soft texture ... Excuse me while I lay my head down for a few moments.

  3. This ice cream looks fantastic! Lusciously creamy and delightfully tart.



  4. Ahhhhhhhh. Custard-based ice cream.
    I'm lazy. I still let my ice cream maker do the work. Pssst, next time...try adding lemon curd to the ice cream. I did that, on a whim. Hoowee! It tasted like lemon meringue! Nice recipe for those who don't have a machine.

  5. Lemon ice cream is a thing dreams are made of. I can not wait to try your recipe.

  6. I'm with you on the yogurt - my mom tried to pass it off as dessert as well. That and cream cheese and jam sandwiches... The ice cream looks like the perfect way to wind down the summer!

  7. Aah..This is just the thing for me. Ive been recently going through a lemony phase. Tried lemony cake, lime pies, lemonade..everything and this looks like a fitting addition to my obsession! :) Love the recipe and I love the fact that you dont absolutely need an ice cream maker ever more. Definitely trying this out!

    PS: Your thoughts about yogurt made me crack up. LOL!

  8. Oh yes! This sounds right up my alley. And not needing an ice-cream maker? Perfect.


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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