This is an absolutely lovely lemon sherbet. It is sweet and tangy with a slight richness to it. The lemon is not overbearing and I wouldn’t (didn’t?) hesitat to eat and thoroughly enjoy this sherbet as is. If you love lemon (like my husband and daughter), then you will really love this sherbet. The strawberry topping is not required, but it sure is tasty – honey, lime, and cardamom soaked strawberries. I love cardamom, so I was drawn to this recipe right away. Usually I use cardamom in winter baking, or in a mango lassi, but it is delightfully unexpected here. Myla LOVED these strawberries – I had to cut her off so I could save some to use in pictures.
Now, let’s take a brief moment to switch gears and talk about zesting citrus (like for this sherbet). Zesting is removing the outer peel from the fruit, while leaving the bitter white pith behind. You can zest with a small hand held zester (if you’re feeling fancy), use a pairing knife for larger pieces of peel, or a microplane (what I use), which works great for getting zest into salad dressings or baked goods. If you tend to use zest, a microplane is a great (and inexpensive) tool to have around – bonus: now you can grate your own nutmeg, too. When using a microplane, hold the fruit in one hand and in your other, hold the microplane with the sharp side down. Run the microplane over the fruit; this way the microplane collects the zest and you don’t need to scrape it up. Organic produce is best as it doesn’t contain the waxy coating conventional fruit does. However, you can absolutely use conventional fruit, just be sure to wash them in hot water first. Then, for even better (read: easier) results when zesting, place your citrus in the refrigerator for at least four hours prior to zesting. Use zest right away. Like in this sherbet.
Serves 6 to 8
For the strawberries:
1 pound strawberries (use small, local strawberries if you can), hulled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
For the sherbet:
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups buttermilk, well shaken*
Put the strawberries in a large heatproof bowl (do not use metal). In a small saucepan, combine the honey and the lime juice and bring to a boil. Stir in the lime zest and the cardamom, remove from the heat, and pour over the strawberries. Stir the strawberries to coat them in the syrup, then let stand, stirring once or twice, for at least 25 to 30 minutes, until the berries are soft and plump, bathing in a bright red juice.
Make the sherbet: Zest one of the lemons and set aside. Juice both of the lemons and set the juice aside. In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Add in the lemon zest and set over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl and set in the refrigerator until completely chilled. Once the syrup has cooled, whisk in the buttermilk (* if you don’t have buttermilk, combine 2 cups whole milk with the lemon juice and let stand for at least five minutes) and the reserved lemon juice (if applicable). Process according to your ice cream maker’s instructions then freeze completely until solid.
Serve the sherbet with heaping spoonfuls of macerated strawberries overtop.