Must. Make. Lemon. Ice cream. This thought haunted me somewhere between midnight and 2 a.m. on Wednesday evening after my food writing class. I typically cannot sleep after my I return home...I guess I am ramped up by so much inspiration (and caffeine). And for whatever reason, I couldn't stop thinking about lemon ice cream, even though I had never tried it, or heard of it for that matter. But it seemed like a great way to use up some of my lemons, since the muffins barely put a dent in my supply. I wondered if it was even possible to make such a thing. Would the lemon juice curdle the milk and cream? Would it taste good with gingersnap cookies?
Evidently I wasn't the only one with that great idea. In the June 1993 issue of Gourmet Magazine, they featured such a recipe, Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches with Gingersnap Cookies. It sounded very good, but the ice cream was custard based, and I am not a huge fan of overly rich eggy ice cream. So I decided to try my old standby ice cream recipe which is made with only cream, milk, superfine sugar, and whatever flavors I decide to add (vanilla or strawberry are delicious).
The lemons were zested and juiced, quickly mixed together with the cooled cream, milk and sugar (and a shot of limoncello liqueur for good measure), and poured into the frozen bowl of my ice cream maker. As its heady fragrance filled my kitchen with brightness, I crossed my fingers, hoping that the ice cream wouldn't be chunky with curdled milk and cream...lemon cottage cheese flavor was not what I was going for. Much to my relief, the end result was creamy and smooth, sweet and sour, and tasted as light and fresh as a spring day. If the ice cream is very hard, let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving. My kids said it tasted like a creamy frozen lemonade, and I couldn't agree more...I don't think the limoncello will hurt them much, do you?
Lemon Ice Cream
zest from 3 lemons
1/2 C freshly squeezed lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
2 C heavy cream
1 C whole milk
1/2 C super fine sugar
1 oz. limoncello
Zest and juice lemons. In a sauce pan, heat cream, milk and sugar together, until sugar dissolves (remove from heat before it reaches the boiling point). Pour cream mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until cold (about 1 hour). Add lemon juice, zest and limoncello to cold cream mixture and stir to combine. Pour into the frozen bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers directions, or about 15-20 minutes (will be soft set). Transfer to a container, and freeze until firm.