Meyer Lemon Sorbet Recipe

Meyer Lemon Sorbet Recipe Recipe

Sorbet is a very easy sweet treat to make. All you need is the right equipment to create the frozen dessert. I gathered the last crop of Meyer lemons from the garden and thought it would be nice to make a gourmet sorbet, adding ginger. Because it doesn't contain any fat or custard, sorbet takes a lot longer to churn and it tends to melt very easily. Often alcohol is added to the mix because it lowers the freezing point and keeps the product softer. I wanted to make the dessert kid-friendly, so after experimenting with stabilizers in my new eggless ranch dressing recipe, I decided to use the same combination of xanthan gum and lecithin in the sorbet. The result is an incredibly velvety texture that coats your tongue in a way that ice by itself just can't.

To add a contrast of color and texture to the sorbet, I paired it with blueberries sweetened with agave nectar. This is a tasty, yet healthy way to end any meal. Enjoy!


Yields: 2 pints

1 (4-ounce) package fresh blueberries
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
9 Meyer lemons, at room temperature
½ teaspoon spearmint leaves, + 10 small leaves for garnish
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon liquid lecithin
1 (2-inch) chunk fresh ginger
3/4 cup superfine sugar (or granulated sugar)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons powdered sugar


Prepping the Meyer lemons:

Zest and juice the Meyer lemons. Finely chop the zest (I used a fine mesh Microplane so it wasn't necessary). Gather about 2 tablespoons and reserve the rest for making lemonade or vinaigrette. Reserve the juice (about 2 cups). You could strain the juice through a sieve, but I like to have some pulp in the sorbet. Just make sure there is no white membrane.

Making lemon sugar: In a mortar and pestle, grind 1 tablespoon lemon zest and fresh mint with the granulated sugar until fragrant. You could also use a food processor if you're making a large quantity of flavored sugar.

Sweetening the blueberries:

Rinse the blueberries and pat them dry in a kitchen towel. Place the blueberries in a bowl. Sprinkle with lemon sugar. Toss the blueberries to ensure all the blueberries are coated with the syrup. Some juice will form at the bottom of the bowl. Toss occasionally. Let stand for at least 10-15 minutes.

Freshly grated ginger: Clean the ginger root and remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife (or the edge of a spoon). Grate the ginger with a fine mesh Microplane. Gather about 2 teaspoons of grated ginger root.

Infusing the syrup: In a saucepan, combine the superfine sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup and 1 tablespoon of Meyer lemon zest. Add 1-¼ cups water. Bring to a full boil, then lower to a simmer for about 2 minutes. Make sure all the sugar is dissolved and there is no sugar on the side of the saucepan. Add salt. Remove from the stove and allow to cool completely (about 60-90 minutes). Add the Meyer lemon juice and grated ginger. To check if the mixture is ready to be churned, the temperature of the liquid shouldn't exceed 45°F. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool in the refrigerator if necessary. 

How to make lemon sorbet:

Remember, the ice cream mixture should be slightly sweeter to your taste before placing  in the ice cream machine because it will taste less sweet when it's frozen.

In a bowl, combine the xanthan gum, ½ teaspoon of olive oil and liquid lecithin. Add the lemon syrup to the xanthan gum / lecithin mixture. The lemon mixture will thicken a bit. Whisk well.

Make sure the ice cream mixture is as cold as possible before you transfer it to the machine.

Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker canister. Fill up two-thirds of it as the sorbet will expand, and let the machine do its magic. The consistency will be firm but still soft-serve. Transfer the sorbet into an airtight container in the freezer to harden for at least 2 hours. Patience is a virtue; I let it rest overnight.

Note: The texture will be on the soft side.

I used footed ice cream bowls, previously chilled in the freezer for 30 minutes. Serve 2 scoops of Meyer lemon sorbet per bowl. Garnish with blueberries, a small mint leaf and a dusting of powdered sugar as decoration, if you like.

Bon appétit!


2 pints of sorbet yields about 8 servings. I serve about ½ cup per person. Count a little more sorbet in case anyone wants seconds.

You can store the sorbet in airtight containers in the freezer for up to 3 months.

I prefer using superfine sugar. It's fine-grained sugar and it dissolves much more quickly than the regular granulated kind.

I love Meyer lemons. They have a subtle sweetness and are less sour than other more common varieties.

You could also use other acidic fruit juice such as lime, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, kiwi, pomegranate, pineapple or raspberry instead of Meyer lemon juice. For optimum flavor, use freshly squeezed, not store-bought juice.

If you want a stronger lemon flavor, you could add ¼ teaspoon of pure lemon extract to the lemon sorbet prior to churning. I didn't because the Meyer lemons were already so fragrant.

Xanthan gum is a fine powder used as a binder and emulsifier. If you look at the list of ingredients for salad dressings and ice cream at the supermarket, you'll find that they contain xanthan gum. I use it for texture and as an egg white substitute. You can find it online or in any specialty food store such as Whole Foods.

I use liquid lecithin as an egg yolk substitute. You can also find this online or in any specialty food store like Whole Foods.

I usually add a little salt to most desserts. A pinch of salt will enhance the taste of your sweets and brings out all the flavors.

For an adult version, you can replace 1/3 cup water with 1/3 cup limoncello (lemon liqueur) or vodka.

Blueberries are delicious and packed with antioxidants. Many studies have concluded that a diet high in antioxidant foods prevents heart disease and cancer and also reduces blood pressure.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on April 23, 2010.


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