This Creamy Lemon Ice Cream is as lemony as ice cream can be. It has the luscious body of the fior di latte ice cream and the refreshing, craveable flavour of lemon. Zesty, citrusy and creamy, this Creamy Lemon Ice Cream will fluff up to a voluptuous body with a deluxe texture.
The lemon flavour is added to the ice cream in two ways: first, by warming the milk and infusing it with the lemon zest to give the ice cream its sweet and delicate lemony taste. Then, during the final stages of churning, a simple lemon juice syrup is added to the fluffy, dreamy ice cream. This elevates the infused with lemon zest ice cream from the stage of soft lemon to the untouchable level of a kicking lemony ice cream.
Creamy Lemon Ice Cream
Before beginning, make sure that your ice cream maker will be ready for use when needed. This means that if it has a removable freezer bowl, it should be put in the freezer beforehand, for the time indicated by the manufacturer.
You will find useful information on choosing the right ingredients, at the end of the recipe.
Special Equipment needed:
Ice Cream Machine
The recipe in a glance:
- Warm the milk and sugar and infuse with the lemon zest for 1-2 hours.
- Prepare the lemon syrup by gently warming the lemon juice with the sugar, till the sugar is melted. Store in the refrigerator to chill.
- Whisk the cornflour with some cream to create a slurry. In the infused milk, add the rest of the cream, salt and skimmed milk (if using) and bring to a boil. Pour the boiling milk into the corn flour slurry, whisking continuously.
- Cool the mixture by stirring it for 10 minutes and then putting it in an ice bath to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator overnight to chill.
- Churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker. Slowly add the lemon syrup. Store in the freezer to set for 4-5 hours, before serving.
This batch is for an ice cream maker of 1.5 litre/quart capacity.
( you can find more about the ingredients in the footnotes )
- 500 gr whole milk ( 17.6 ounces / 2 cups & 2 Tbs.)
- 200 gr demerara raw cane sugar or regular white sugar ( 7 ounces / 1 cup )
- 40 gr demerara raw cane sugar -or regular white sugar ( 1.4 ounces / 3 Tbs. and 1 tsp. )
- 500 gr heavy cream, around 35%-38% fat ( 17.6 ounces / 2 cups and 2 Tbs. )
- 25 gr corn flour (a.k.a. corn starch) ( 0.9 ounces / 3 Tbs. & 1 tsp. )
- 20 gr skimmed milk powder* ( 0.7 ounces ) (optional but highly recommended, see footnotes)
note that 1 cup = 235 ml, 1 Tbs. = 15 ml, 1 tsp = 5 ml
*volume measurements are not provided for the milk powder, because the volume of the milk powder may vary significantly.
Step 1 – Infuse the Milk
In a medium 2 litre (2 quart) saucepan with a long handle, gently warm the milk and the sugar. Stir occasionally with a silicone spatula until the sugar is dissolved and the milk is warm and steamy.
Remove from the heat and zest the lemons directly into it the warm milk. Give it a stir, cover with a lid and let infuse for 1-2 hours.
Step 2 – Prepare the Lemon Syrup
Juice the lemons to get 125 gr of lemon juice ( 4.4 ounces / 1/2 cup ). Reserve the leftover lemons for another use.
Pour the lemon juice in a small saucepan, add the 40 gr sugar ( 1.4 ounces / 3 Tbs. and 1 tsp. ) and warm gently over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.
Do not let it boil.
Remove from the heat, let it cool briefly and and put it in a small, sealable container with a lid.
Store in the fridge until ready to use.
Storage: it will last for a week.
Step 3 – Prepare the Creamy Lemon Ice Cream Base
Have a silicone spatula and a whisk ready on a plate, close to you.
In a large bowl, put the cornflour and pour 75 gr of the heavy cream ( 2.6 ounces / 5 Tbs. ) over it. Whisk well to create a slurry. Set aside.
Add the rest of the heavy cream, salt and skimmed milk powder (if using) and heat over medium heat, stirring often with the spatula until the skimmed milk and sugar dissolve.
Do not let it boil before the sugar fully dissolves.
When all sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium-high and bring it to a boil.
Let it boil for 30 seconds; at this time give a last, good whisk to the cornflour slurry, for there will be cornflour stuck to the bottom of the bowl.
Pour the boiling milk over the cornflour slurry in a steady stream; now stir everything with a silicone spatula.
Stir it vigorously with the spatula for one whole minute, during which time it will thicken. This is your ice cream base.
Step 4 – Cool the Creamy Lemon Ice Cream Base
Stir the ice cream base with the spatula for 10 minutes. This will help release the steam, cool the mix down faster and prevent the formation of a crust on top of the ice cream mix. Stirring is the most vital step for creating the ideal structure for this ice cream. It may seem a lot, but take your time and enjoy the process.
After that, give it a stir every 5 minutes. When the bowl is not too hot to the touch anymore, put it in an ice bath to cool it down completely. The whole process of cooling down the ice cream mix (ice bath included), should take less than 45 minutes.
How to prepare an ice bath
You will need a large bowl, larger than the bowl with the prepared ice cream mix. Put in some ice cubes and cold water. Carefully nest the bowl with the ice cream base in it. Pour more cold water from the sides, till it reaches the ice cream base in the inner bowl in height. Take extra care not to spill any water into the ice cream base.
When the ice cream mix has cooled, put a mesh strainer over a container and pour it through the mesh strainer into the container.
Cover with a lid and leave in the refrigerator overnight to cool; or up to 3-4 days.
In a hurry? Here is how to speed things up:
If you want to bypass the overnight refrigeration process and churn the ice cream immediately, you can put the tepid ice cream in a sealable bag, place it in a large container, fully cover it with ice and let it chill for a few hours ( it may take up to 3 hours to properly cool ).
You will have to do the same for the lemon juice as well.
The downside of this method is that you will need lots of ice. You will also need a thermometer to check if the temperature has reached the desired 4º C ( about 39º F ).
Step 5 – Churn the Creamy Lemon Ice Cream
Prepare the ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Give the lemon ice cream base a good stir to homogenise it.
With the machine running, pour the chilled lemon ice cream base through the canister and into the ice cream machine. Leave to churn until nice and fluffy.
When the lemon ice cream is fluffed up and ready, start pouring the chilled lemon syrup, 2 tablespoons at a time, letting it fully absorb after each addition.
When all the lemon syrup has been added, let the lemon ice cream churn for a full 8-10 minutes.
Remove the machine from the container and place the container, covered with a lid, into the freezer.
Leave for 4-5 hours for the ice cream to set properly, before serving or removing to another, sealable container and store.
Tip: if you are using a metal container to store the ice cream, put it in the freezer along with the ice cream maker, to freeze for 4-5 hours. This will prevent the ice cream from melting when you transfer the ice cream there from the ice cream bowl. Putting it for under an hour will not freeze it enough.
Storing the Creamy Lemon Ice Cream
This ice cream, like all artisanal ice creams, freezes hard in the long term.
As it does not contain egg yolks, it’s texture will most likely suffer more than custard-based ice creams, so you may prefer to eat it fresh, within a day of making it.
However, if you wish to eat it later, you have to soften it before serving. Remove from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator for half an hour. It will not have the scoopable, creamy texture it had when it was freshly churned, but the taste will still be amazing and a thousand times better than any store-bought ice cream.
Discard after one month of keeping in the freezer.
Demerara sugar is a variety of raw cane sugar and gives depth of flavour. You may use any kind of raw cane sugar you like, as long as it is light brown in colour.
Regular white sugar works well too, although it doesn’t help in building flavour.
Lemons: the taste of the ice cream will be determined by the quality of the lemons. How to choose: first scratch the surface of the lemon with your nail and smell it. If it smells lovely, it is a good indicator that you may have a fairly good lemon in your hands. If the lemons are waxed (it is easy to understand, as they have a shiny surface), you have to remove the wax by rinsing and rubbing with your hands under warm water. Imported lemons are usually waxed. Always choose seasonal, local lemons from your local market, whenever possible.
Powdered milk: helps ice cream expand in volume while churning, by creating a better structure. There are many kinds of powdered milk on the market; regular skimmed milk powder works best, plus it can easily be found in most supermarkets. However, you may use whey powder, whole milk powder or any other powdered milk as long as it consists solely of milk powder (no sugar, flavouring or anything else listed in the ingredients)