Lemon Sorbet

BY Victoria de la Maza TIMEJanuary 26, 2022 PRINT

Refreshingly tangy, lemon sorbet is often served in between courses to clean the palate. I love it as an easy-to-make dessert all year round.

Sorbet is easy to make, with or without an ice cream maker, but you’ll need to plan ahead to allow fo ample freezing time. I add a splash of vodka to help the mixture freeze smoothly, but you can certainly omit it.

This ratio of sugar and juice also works with other sweet citrus fruits, such as oranges, tangerines, and even pink grapefruit. If you are using regular lemons instead of the sweeter Meyer lemons, you will have to add more sugar.

As with many simple desserts, presentation is key. If you are going to serve it often, it’s worth investing in lemon-shaped ceramic pieces—so decorative to serve at the table! Otherwise, I simply hollow out the lemon shells after squeezing them of their juice, and use them as the container for the sorbet. Of course, a pretty bowl works just as well.

Serves 6

  • 2 1/2 cups freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice (reserve the shells for serving)
  • 4 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons vodka (optional)

In a small pan over low heat, combine half the lemon juice and sugar, and warm it up to dissolve the sugar. Add the zest and the vodka, then mix in the remaining juice. Chill for a few hours or even overnight, until completely cold.

In an ice cream maker, churn the sorbet following the manufacturer’s suggestions. Fill each half lemon with the sorbet and return to the freezer to set completely, at least 2 hours or overnight. Let the sorbet thaw for about 5 minutes at room temperature before serving, for a smoother texture.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, place the mixture in a bowl in the freezer for about 2 hours. Use a fork to break it up, and then freeze again until solid. Let it thaw for about 5 minutes at room temperature before scooping out into lemon halves or decorative bowls.

Victoria de la Maza is an award-winning cookbook author, columnist, and international TV host. Passionate about great food, she combines American traditions with her European heritage to create classic-with-a-twist recipes and ideas for stylish entertaining at home. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter, "Diary of a Serial Hostess,” at
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