I have big plans for my ice cream maker this summer. I gave my friends a list of flavors I wanted to make and they told me what they’d help me eat. My first opportunity came at a barbecue. Everyone brought fresh, summery food, so I tried to match the dinner with a lemon lavender sorbet. I wanted to try the same in an ice cream, but my friend is allergic to dairy, and sorbet is certainly fresh and summery.
I adapted a recipe from Art is the Handmaid of the Human Good, and that recipe was adapted from Cuisinart. It’s a simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar by volume, in this case, 2 cups) plus a cup and a half of lemon juice.
I flavored the simple syrup by putting a tablespoon of lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of dried lavender in the syrup while I was heating it. I didn’t let it boil, because high heat kills volatile flavors, and the sugar dissolved before it boiled. I let the syrup cool with the zest and lavender still in it, and then strained it before adding a combination of frozen lemon juice (from the last time I made limoncello) and fresh lemon juice.
Then you just put it in the ice cream maker for about 25 minutes, and then put it in the freezer.
It was good, but a little too sweet. I love lemon, but the flavor seems different when it’s combined with too much sugar. Like a lemon drop. That was one of my issues with limoncello for a while. I think the recipe could stand a decrease in the amount of sugar; you have to be careful doing that because the same recipe with less sugar will freeze harder, but this sorbet was quite soft and melted really fast, so I think it would be fine. I also didn’t pick up too much lavender flavor. Maybe there’s a better way to extract the flavor. Marianne at the blog I got the recipe from used lavender sugar, but I imagine it takes a while for the sugar to pick up the flavor. I do think this recipe has just the right amount of lemon flavor in it, assuming you are a big fan of lemon.
By the way: I juiced four lemons for this recipe, but I only used the zest from two. So, on the advice of America’s Test Kitchen, I zested the other two lemons (before juicing them) and put the zest in a baggie in the freezer. They said it will keep its flavor when frozen, but not when refrigerated.