Updated Sunday, April 21st, 2002
Total Time: 15
Yield: about 1 quart, or 8 servings
The word sherbet comes from the Arabic sharab or sharbat, a cold, sweetened drink usually made with fruit juice. Over time, the cold fruit juices were frozen into fruit desserts. Sherbets probably reached their peak of popularity in this country from the 1950s to the 1970s when Howard Johnson's orange sherbet was its signature dessert. Today, sorbets, made with only fruit and sugar, are more popular, whereas sherbets, which contain a small amount of milk or cream, have declined.
But this recipe for lemon sherbet--submitted by reader Irmarie Jones, who received it from her mother-in-law in the 1950s--will hopefully change that. It manages to be simultaneously rich, creamy, zingy, and light, all while taking less than 15 minutes to prepare. Given the amount of cream in the recipe, it probably qualifies as more of an ice cream than a sherbet, but its texture isn't quite the same. Really, it's in a class of its own.
Note: You can make this recipe by simply freezing the mixture in a glass or plastic container, but you'll get the smoothest texture if you prepare it in an ice cream maker.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and sugar until sugar is mostly dissolved. Add the milk and whisk until sugar is fully dissolved. In a separate bowl, whip the cream to medium peaks. Gently fold the cream into the lemon mixture and transfer to an ice cream maker or an airtight freezer-safe container (see Note). Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. For firmer sherbet, transfer to your freezer for at least 2 hours.
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