A few summers ago my mom gave us her electric ice cream maker; since it's been hot recently, we've brought it out from the cabinet and are using it again. It's hard to beat freshly made frozen treats on a hot afternoon.
Most home ice cream makers work by mixing liquid in a pre-frozen bowl with an attachment designed to aerate the liquid as it freezes. The same machine can be used to make ice cream (based on cream), sherbet (based on milk), frozen yogurt (based on yogurt; did you really need me to tell you that?), and sorbet (based on water), as they're all based on the same principle - aerate and freeze the liquid with sugar and flavorings mixed in. The one downside of these machines is that it's hard to make large amounts of frozen confections with them; the bowl must be re-frozen after each use (usually overnight or longer), and the bowls tend to be small (ours holds only a pint or so of liquid pre-freezing). That said, they're great for making frozen treats for a couple of people.
This lemon-lime sorbet is our newest creation; it's just tart enough to be bracing, but not overwhelming. It is also this week's third end-of-the-week recipe blogging post.
Zest of one lemon and one lime
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup freshly squeezed mixed lemon and lime juice (the total volume of citrus juice should be 1/2 cup, not 1 cup; you'll probably need 1 or 2 lemons and 1 or 2 limes)
3/4 cup ice water
1. Bring the zest, sugar, and water to a boil in a small pot. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat and let cool.
3. Add the lemon/lime juice and 3/4 cup ice water, and stir to mix.
4. Put the pot into the fridge, covered, and chill until it's cold enough for your ice cream maker to freeze it; we leave it in the fridge for at least an hour.
5. Pour the contents of the pot through a fine-mesh strainer (to remove the zest and any stray seeds) and then add to a running ice cream maker.
6. Serve in chilled bowls once it's frozen; freeze any leftovers immediately.
This recipe is written to use the type of ice cream maker that freezes ice cream by putting it in a mixing bowl that has been pre-frozen. If you have a professional ice cream maker that uses a compressor to cool the liquid, you probably don't need to do the cooling step.
This is also good when made with only lemon juice and zest (thus making lemon sorbet).
Zest is made by shaving off the very outer layer of citrus rind (which is typically filled with lots of the aromatic oils that give citrus fruits their characteristic smell). Thus, to zest the lemon use a fine grater to remove the outer surface of the citrus fruit, but don't include the white layer (pith) underneath, as that is often very bitter. We use a fine microplane grater for all of our zesting.
This recipe is based on one from All Recipes (Flashdance16 2006).
Flashdance16. Lemon Sorbet. http://dessert.allrecipes.com/az/77853.asp. Accessed July 2006 on All Recipes.
[Updated May 2007 to clarify the juice amount.]