For special occasions, I’ll serve these refreshing sorbets in their lemony containers. More often though, I’ll make a jugful of sorbet and serve it in clunky glasses with big straws. Depending on the crowd, I’ll add a splash of vodka.
Lemon Sorbet is made in an ice cream maker but if you don’t have one, you can always make a granita instead by freezing the mixture in a shallow container and stirring it now and then with a fork. Sorbets are smooth, granitas are granular; both offer sweet frosty relief on a warm summer’s day.
Makes About 5 Cups
■ 3 cups fresh lemon juice from small lemons, about a dozen
■ 2 1/2 cups water
■ 2 cups white sugar
■ fresh mint
■ Electric ice cream maker
I’ve used small sherry glasses to hold the lemons in place; wide shot glasses also work. If you do not have suitably sized containers, you can cut a small slice from the bottom of each lemon so that it sits upright on a small plate without tipping over.
The lemons will be used as containers, so it is important not to manhandle them while you’re extracting their juice. If you have a lemon reamer on hand, use it. Once the juice has been squeezed, strain and refrigerate it until well chilled. Carefully scrape and discard all the pulp from the lemon rind “containers” and clean them with a damp cloth. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to fill.
In a small, heavy saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and cook for a minute or two until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is clear. Set aside to cool at room temperature then cover and refrigerate until well chilled.
Add the lemon juice to the syrup and stir to combine. Pour into an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the sorbet to a freezer-safe container.
Gently pack the sorbet into the lemon “cups” with an ice cream scoop or a rounded spoon. The sorbet melts quickly; once you’ve finished one, cover it with plastic and place it in the freezer before starting the next one.
The sorbet should be taken from the freezer a few minutes before serving. Remove the plastic wrap and garnish with fresh mint.
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