Salted Lemon Ice Cream (no machine)

Salted Lemon Ice CreamIt’s winter in the northeast, and I don’t have an ice cream maker, but I don’t care – I’m making this again soon. Simultaneously bright, sweet, tart, and salty, this is what turned my ice cream world upside down and introduced me to the world of preserved lemons a couple posts back.  Or it’s my homage to it anyway.

I never knew it was possible to make passable ice cream without a machine or rock salt until I saw David Lebovtiz’s post on how to do so.  I filed it away in my memory, a little hesitant to try because it required a little bit of elbow grease and a lot of patience…and unfortunately, I’m not great at either. After my incredible eye-opening ice cream experience however, there was no question.  It was time.

IMG_0713Use RealButter’s recipe for lemon ice cream stuck out to me, because she mentioned it had the bright, tart flavor of real lemons.  Sounded like just what I was looking for!  I replaced some of the fresh lemon zest with preserved lemon, but kept some of the fresh stuff to keep the brightness.  The resulting ice cream was bursting with flavor.  I personally loved the tartness and boldness of flavor.  So. Good.  However, my dad preferred something milder, so I’ve included a range of suggested measurements for the lemon and lemon juice below (juice lends tartness, peel lends flavor).  The texture of the ice cream using this method turned out a lot better than I expected – not as smooth as store-bought stuff, but not too icy either.  Based on the comments on Use Real Butter‘s post, this recipe will yield very smooth and creamy machine-made ice cream.

Inspired by The Breslin’s Salted Lemon Sherbet
Ingredients adapted from Use Real Butter
Method from Use Real Butter and David Lebovitz’s How to Make Ice Cream Without a Machine

1 fresh lemon, finely grated zest of
1/3-1/2 c. lemon juice, fresh (1/2 c. was about 1.5 medium lemons for me)  
3/4 c. sugar
4 egg yolks
1 c. milk
2 c. heavy cream
1-1.5 Tbsp. preserved lemon, finely chopped or grated 

1.  Combine the lemon zest, juice and sugar in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate.
2.  Combine the heavy cream and preserved lemon in a bowl and refrigerate.
3.  Heat the milk in a large saucepan until just barely boiling.  Then remove from heat.
4.  In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and whisk the warm milk into the yolks.
5.  Pour the egg yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
6.  Over medium low heat, stir constantly until egg/milk mixture reaches a nappe consistency (coats the back of a spoon).
7.  Strain the custard through a sieve and refrigerate until completely chilled.


8.  Mix the milk mixture, cream mixture, and lemon slurry together.  Chill in an ice bath.  (I did not have ice, so skipped this.)

9.  Pour into a shallow freezer-safe pan.  Place in freezer. 10.  After 45 minutes, the mixture should be beginning to freeze at the edges.

Edges beginning to set.

Edges beginning to freeze.

Stir vigorously with a spatula, whisk, or hand-held mixer if you have one.  Really beat it up and break up any frozen sections.  Breaking the frozen crystals that form is what gives you a smooth texture.  Don’t leave it out of the freezer for too long though, or your ice cream will begin to melt.

First stir

11.  Check the mixture every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously as it’s freezing.*

Ice cream freezing

* Neat little tip:  Make Stracciatella ice cream (ice cream with Italian-style chocolate chips) by drizzling pure chocolate ove the almost frozen mixture, then stir to break up the ribbons of chocolate as they start to freeze.


Drizzle melted chocolate over the ice cream while it is freezing. Small ribbons result in fine bits, large ribbons will result in large chunks.

Stir to break up the chocolate as the chocolate begins to set.

Stir to break up the chocolate as the chocolate begins to set.

12.  Keep checking periodically and stirring until the ice cream is frozen to your liking.  It will likely take 2-3 hours to be ready.

13.  Transfer the ice cream to a covered storage container until ready to serve.



4 responses to “Salted Lemon Ice Cream (no machine)

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