Lemon Sorbet

Cold weather has been holding on for much too long in St. Louis. Although the calendar reports Spring arrived last week, the brisk wind and periodic snowflakes say otherwise. To me, there is no better way to conjure up a sunny, warm day than to cut into a lemon. The burst of essential oils released when cutting the citrus instantly invigorates me. The smell transports me back to Southern Italy and brings a smile to my face.

I was surprised with the most wonderful gift last week from my cousin Art who lives in Arizona. He shipped me a box of lemons that were grown in his yard. Compared to the lemons I normally find in the local grocery store, these lemons look like they are on steroids! These Arizona lemons are very similar to the ones I sampled in Southern Italy. They both are very large in size {6 to 7 inches long and 12 inches in circumference}, they have thick, rough skins, and the flavor is more sweet than tart. I was able to eat a slice without making that uncontrollable puckering face. Since the Italian varieties of lemons can't be grown in the US, I am so thrilled to be able to cook with these almost identical lemons.

Today recipe comes from a recent book I read, "Da Vinci's Kitchen: A secret history of Italian Cuisine" by Dave Dewitt. This book delves into Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks to find out what he and his counterparts ate living in Florence, Italy in late 1400s to early 1500. I learned that sorbet {sorbetto} was one of Catherine de' Medici's favorite desserts. She moved from Florence, Italy to France at the age of 14 to marry the son of the King of France. It's reported she took some Italian cooks with her to teach the French chefs her Italian favorites.

Lemon Sorbet is one of my favorites too. It's is a tasty palate cleanser after a large meal or a cool treat on a hot day. If lemon is too tart for you, pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This recipe does not utilize an ice cream maker, so there is no reason not to try this.

Thanks again Art! I've really enjoyed the lemons. Here's to good food, gladness, and sunny days ahead! (March 26, 2014)

Ingredients for Lemon Sorbet

  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 pasteurized egg white

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

  • optional garnish: candied lemon peel, raspberries, or mint

Directions for Lemon Sorbet

  1. In a medium sized sauce pan, combine juice, sugar, and zest; bring to a boil.

  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir until sugar dissolves.

  3. Cool then transfer to a shallow bowl/ container with a lid. Refrigerate about 1 hour until temperature is at/below 70 degrees F.

  4. Whisk egg white until forms soft peaks. Add to the cooled juice mixture. Mix well.

  5. Place in freezer. Stir the mixture using a fork once every 2 hours for 6 hours.

  6. When frozen, scoop out and serve with garnish. Yields 4 servings {serving size=1/2 cup}.