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cold in summer

Recipe: lemon ice cream

I have a cold. *hack* In summer. Pisser.

A food blogger pal once mentioned in a post that she was under the weather. Someone had written she didn’t want to hear about bloggers being sick, and can we get on with the recipe already? It happened a while ago but it’s been stuck in my mind lately, I think because sudafed does that to me – the stuck-in-the-mind part. What is wrong with people? If I made that remark to someone’s face, I’d expect them to haul off and bust me across the chops (and deservedly so). Thankfully, the majority of my readers are nothing like that. You guys rawk! It’s a relief for me that I can do a little (or a lottle) spilling of guts here from time to time and you roll with me. People get sick, people die, pets get hurt, bad things happen to good people – that’s all part of life and that’s why it’s important to be here for one another. Food bloggers are not automatons who exist for the sole purpose of cranking out recipes for the masses. We are people with lives and personalities (don’t you know it!). So thanks for letting me be human in all my flawed glory, and thank you for being human yourselves. It makes ours a richer community.

Speaking of community, I have tossed my hat into the ring to give an Ignite Boulder presentation! Trust me, I didn’t make this decision in a congested haze. I got jazzed about giving a talk ever since I attended Ignite Boulder 5 in July. In case you’ve been hiding out in your broom closet, you can find out what an Ignite presentation is and if you are anywhere near Boulder, you should plan on attending Ignite Boulder 6 on September 16th. Get your ticket(s) before they sell out! And if you’re so inclined, you can also vote for talks through August 26th or better yet – submit a topic to present! Not local or can’t make it? No worries, the good coordinators of this fine event will have a live stream for you to laugh and shout along with the hundreds (dare we hope for a thousand?) attendees. Good times!

If you will recall, my last post featured a luscious and summery blueberry peach crisp which I served with lemon ice cream. That was homemade lemon ice cream and the recipe came from my good friend, Helen who swore to me that this was the best lemon ice cream ever. Five out of five Coloradoans agree. This is creamy citrus heaven.

pucker up

Making the ice cream was a bit of a last minute decision. I had to use up extra lemons, so why not? Here’s the “worlds colliding” bit: Helen got this recipe from Ultimate Ice Cream in Asheville, North Carolina while on a foodie tour with Jaden and other food bloggers. The tour was hosted by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce. Turns out a dear friend of mine from high school works for the Asheville Chamber of Commerce! Okay, well, it was neat for me.

a lemony slurry

whisking warmed milk with egg yolks

I took one slight deviation from the recipe, which was to strain the custard before chilling it because I am a ninny about cooked egg bits in my ice cream. Once the custard is strained, cool it completely in the refrigerator.

straining the custard

mixing in the cream

When I mixed the lemon juice, zest, and sugar, I wondered if the sugar would remain grainy. After two hours in the refrigerator, it was still grainy, but I put my faith in the recipe and stirred the custard, cream, and lemon slurry together. Once it came out of the ice cream machine, it was creamy and as smooth as silk on my tongue. Wow! Most lemon ice creams I have tried taste fake. You know that fake lemon flavor? This recipe had the bright and tart taste you get with real lemons. The moment I tried it, I telepathically sent brain waves to Helen that she was right. This is THE perfect lemon ice cream, beautiful for its simplicity and purity.

a creamy dreamy delight for summer

Lemon Ice Cream
[print recipe]
from Ultimate Ice Cream in Asheville, North Carolina

3 lemons, finely grated zest of
1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream

Combine the lemon zest, juice, sugar, and salt in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Heat the milk in a large saucepan until just barely boiling and remove from heat. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and whisk the warm milk into the yolks. Pour the egg yolks and milk back into the saucepan. Over medium low heat, stir constantly until it reaches a nappe consistency (coats back of spoon). Strain the custard through a sieve and refrigerate for a couple of hours until completely chilled. Mix the milk mixture, heavy cream, and the lemon slurry together and then follow your ice cream maker’s instructions on freezing the custard.

74 nibbles at “cold in summer”

  1. Emmelyn says:

    Wow you make your own ice creams! i heard it’s pretty easy but i’ve never made them, i think urs would be the first recipe i would tackle soon. Oh i love the photos of the your cabin-inspired house? it’s like in the movies…well sorta, u know like its very homey, nice to cuddle in and drink lots of hot chocs especially with the snow around! btw i love ur macarons post too! i’m a macaron-addict…who loves to bake macarons as well…! happy day

  2. Rita says:

    Hope your feeling better. I was wondering what to do with a some ripe peaches, now I know and for an added bonus will try your lemony ice-cream. Your site looks great.
    Cheers Rita

  3. Tartelette says:

    Cold go away! Now!

    Yep…I think that was me and that lady who said that unless I had second degree burns like the lady of Nie Nie Dialogue, I had no right to complain about a migraine….ugh…that was kind of evil-ish :)

    So the giant slap of telephatic wave that was you! Hot dang!! You know, I strain that one too usually, funny I did not mention it. Must have been due to typing under lemon ice cream influence!!

    You are going to rock Ignite Boulder!!

    BTW, Bill says I need to create a separate blog: “How I cooked my way through URB’s Asian recipes”. Yes, they rock :)

  4. Meeta says:

    hope you get better soon and i am high fiving you on this! i wonder if people really think we have no right to show our emotions/sickness on our blogs! we’re not robots.

    jen where are you when i need you – i could really do with some of this ice cream. i know all i have to do is make it myself right – but i mean you have a bowl right here!

  5. Ronine says:

    Now I *need* to get myself an ice cream maker!

  6. Cate says:

    I’m sorry you’re sick.
    The Ignite presentation sounds awesome! I’ve never witnessed one but it sounds like a great concept.
    Feel better!

  7. Rosa says:

    I hope you’ll soon get better. I often get sick during the summer…

    I like reading about your life/eperiences/trips, etc… I find it gives a personality and dimension to one’s blog when the blogger doesn’t just write about food!

    Cheers and have a nice weekend,


  8. Hande says:

    I had seen it on Helen’s site and made it yesterday to go with a peach/fig/grape “tarte tatin” – add 4 various Europeans to that list of those who think this is the best lemon ice cream!

  9. Hande says:

    Oh, sorry, wanted to write this actually: I made it *without* an ice cream maker (no space) and it worked beautifully – I just mixed it up with a fork 2 times within the first 2 hours in the freezer and the texture was lovely inspite of this shortcoming.

  10. Michelle says:

    Sorry about your cold, but the ice cream looks absolutely fabulous!

  11. Kristin says:

    Hope you feel better. Summer colds stink. I love those world colliding things…makes it seem like a smaller & friendlier place.

  12. Marti says:

    Do I need to tell you my sure-fire, cut-down-a-cold-in-3-days-flat cure?

    You make me want to buy an ice cream maker. I don’t even have a REAL kitchen at the moment, but you made me long to buy an ice cream maker. *sigh.

    I really do know how to fix colds. Homeopathically. Three days, IF YOU CATCH THEM EARLY. Email if you want the fix.

  13. Kate says:

    So sorry about the cold…I was feeling crummy earlier in the week. The ice cream, however, looks wonderful & I can’t wait to try it!

  14. Karen B says:

    When I first stumbled across your blog, one of the things that got me hooked was that you are so…human. You don’t just write about food, it’s about how food is intertwined in your life, good, bad, and everything else. That’s life to me!

    Mmm…ice cream…a couple of years ago I discovered that there are flavors besides chocolate, and I have been really enjoying trying new flavors! It’s a big step for a chocoholic like me, but I’ve been enjoying every bite. I’m suddenly craving lemon!

  15. Valérie says:

    I agree, part of the fun of reading a food blog (or any blog) is that we gradually get to know the person behind the recipes. Heck, even cookbooks feature anecdotes by the author! And it’s not like anyone is being forced to read through the entire entry. Sheesh…

    I hope you feel better soon! In the meantime, enjoy the unique experience of eating ice cream while having a cold!

  16. Patricia says:

    I am sorry someone was so rude to your blogger friend. You can do anything you want in blogging, that is why it is blogging and not a cookbook! I truly hope that person was trying to make a joke. Anyway, thanks for blogging, with or without a cold! I have tried more new recipes from you and a few other bloggers I have found (this is a new arena for me…reading blogs, I just found them about a month ago…okay, so I am not an internet social butterfly!) But I truly enjoy the cooking blogs, and it is fun to see where the people are from and their backgrounds as I see the recipes. Thanks again!

  17. Phoo-D says:

    This looks delicious. We are suckers for anything lemon. I’ve made sorbets and sherberts but never a custard base lemon ice cream. That needs to change!

  18. Bri says:

    Hope you feel better soon Jen! If anything can speed healing, it’s ice cream. :)

  19. Chiot's Run says:

    MMMM, I love anything with lemon. YUM, I can’t wait to get some lemons.

  20. Whitney says:

    Summer colds are the worst. I have had one lingering for a couple of weeks. I hope you are feeling better!

  21. Emily's Edibles says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you sell any goodies on Etsy? You take amazing photos!

  22. Sheryl says:

    Love you and wouldn’t have you any other way! Feel better soon!

  23. Anda says:

    I would like 2 scoops please and I promise I’ll bring my own blackberries :).

  24. Irene says:

    Someone said that to *HELEN*? My hands are itching to open up a can of whoop-ass. I’m jealous of that second scoop of ice cream that’s nestling up to the first.

  25. dawn says:

    Man do I hate having a cold in the summer–the worst, right? Hope you get better soon. I bet this ice cream feels good on the throat though?

  26. Patricia Scarpin says:

    I’m in the middle of winter but can’t resist making some ice cream, Jen – yours looks beautiful! I love it that you served it with berries – my absolutely favorite combo of flavors.

    A couple of hours ago I was reading a friend’s blog – not food related, but great – and she’d posted something about a guy leaving her rude comments and calling her a shallow person because she’d posted her opinion about a certain shampoo. I mean, what the hell? One can’t even express themselves on their own blog? These people have too much time on their hands.

  27. Aran says:

    ahhhh… that sounds amazing right now! hope you start to feel better soon jen!

  28. Eesh says:

    *Sneeze*. I have a cold too! But I’ve heard a lot about the restorative properties of ice cream ;). Most readers do a lottle spilling of guts in comments as well. To me the personal parts of the exchange make blogs more special than, say, cookbooks. The person who complained in your friend’s comments seems to have missed the point entirely.

  29. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Well, I know neither you nor Helen would ever steer me wrong! YUM. Lemon is my Waterloo–I need to make this!

  30. jennywenny says:

    Get well soon, at least you resisted the urge to mention life giving you lemons and that you were going to make lemonade from it ;)

  31. Collette says:

    If I only wanted recipes, I’d go buy a freaking cookbook or something. People are whacked. Feel better. And I might have to try this tomorrow. Yum.

  32. Donna says:

    I’m quite fond of your flawed glory, and I thank you for making my life richer.

  33. cindy says:

    Ok, FINE. I will get off my butt and reorder a replacement blade for my ice cream maker. I had thought refraining from making ice cream almost all summer would help in the ass-decreasing business, but I give up. Besides, my Meyer lemon is about to have another explosion. A girl’s got to do . . .

  34. Sarah says:

    Can’t wait to try this… I’ve got lemons from my tree lining the windowsills, calling to me…

  35. Margie says:

    U b sick? I b sorry. Oh, I do hope you mend, ASAP.

    Okay, it is illegal to submit a recipe to someone in the throws of a diet. I should know. I have contacted the food police and they are speeding toward your chalet as I type. Shame, for shame! ;)

    Hope you get well soon. I will be looking forward to a streaming of the Boulder event. Oh my, I am so proud to know your work and your yummies.

    P.S. I think that ice cream photo deserves the cover of Gourmet, Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart, Cooks Illustrated….someone is bonkers if they don’t grab you and commission your work. Such a talent you are, such a talent! :)

  36. Diana Banana says:

    More than not getting why people can’t keep nasty comments to themselves, what I don’t understand is that if someone really really really wants to get to a recipe, they can skip over the parts they don’t want to read. It’s not that hard to skim, is it? Plus, these are peoples’ BLOGS. They can say whatever the heck they want to say, and I’m glad that you’re the type to take that seriously!

    I’m dying for some of that lemon ice cream right now…

  37. Debby says:

    You are a Saint, truly. When I was a kid, there was an ice cream shop that made the best lemon custard ice cream. It’s long gone, and I have searched for a recipe that would bring back those wonderful memories. I can tell that this is the one! BTW, I have followed your blog for a long time, and I have cried and laughed with you. You are real, and I delight in your stories, your photos and your gift of making beautiful things in the kitchen.

  38. Nicola says:

    Be well. And keep blogging just as you do. Forget the nay-sayers. They’re all bitter and twisted anyway, and probably can’t cook anything worth eating. Bad moods makes bad foods. You and your blog, on the other hand, are delicious.

  39. haya says:

    i was thinking about making a peach cobbler to take to a bbq today and was planning on throwing together a quick vanilla ice cream to go with until i saw this!! yum.
    it’s in my freezer getting hard right now. i think the peach and lemon combo will be fantastic. thank you.

  40. MollyCookie says:

    That ice cream is beautiful. Sorry you’re sick. Getting a cold in summer is a very bad surprise. It’s just not supposed to happen.

  41. art and lemons says:

    Lemon ice cream is definitely a favorite. I may just have to get an ice cream maker soon to try this recipe out!

    By the way, I have a little award for you on my blog…

    Thanks for all the inspiration!

  42. peabody says:

    Sorry you are sick. Seems like a lot of people have the Summer cold right now.
    That ice cream definitely looks like it could help you get better!

  43. Mrs Ergul says:

    ohhhhhh it’s been so long since I have last visited…. I miss reading your words and ogling at your photos! I know you’re having a cold but I still feel the urge to ask you how you are!

    I know what you mean by the fake tangy flavour. That is almost impossible to stomach cuz it taste more like chemicals!!

    I’m off to catch up on the posts I have missed out on!

    Please take lots of care xxooxxooxxoo!

  44. Kristi says:

    I think of yours as so much more than a food blog. I read it just as much for your wit and humanity as I do for your recipes and breath-taking pictures (of food and CO!) Feel better!

  45. Christy says:

    I made this lemon ice cream this past weekend. It was sooooo good. I thought I might have a problem with the undissolved sugar. But like you mentioned I just let it go in the mixer and waited to see what came out. It was just as creamy as what you had described. I was sure surprised. But OMG was it so freaking good! I ended up giving half of it to my friend who loves anything lemon and made another batch! Thanks Jen. Good recipe as always!

  46. Mysticmeg says:

    Hope you feel better. Allergies are going wild here in Texas. We are not having rain on a regular basis. Droughts to the South. I hope the grapefruit an oranges make it thru this dry dry summer.

    There are some herbal remedies which seem to help and lots and lots of hot tea with lemon and maybe some Kentucky Bourbon. Lots of vitamins and time in the Colorado sun.

    Thanks for the blog and we know it is a lot of work for you and your family. We enjoy!! Just think it is almost September!!! and new fruits to try in the fall season.

  47. TheWoman says:

    Oh my! I love lemons and this looks so creamy and awesome. Will it work if I don’t have an ice-cream maker though?

  48. Big Boys Oven says:

    the lemon ice cream loooks so luxurious indeed! “)

  49. Lindsey says:

    I always think of lemon in being in either sherbet or sorbet, but never ice cream! I wish I had an ice cream maker every now and then…

    I once had someone comment about cupcakes I had made, and how they were just cupcakes and why did food bloggers have to be so self involved or something to that affect…why they even took the time to comment is beyond me. Of course we can talk about things besides just the recipe, that’s what makes blogs interesting!

  50. Lori @ RecipeGirl says:

    Well, if you and Helen & five Coloradoans agree, then I’m all over this one. I’ve been in a bit of an ice cream making frenzy this summer. Lemon is my absolute favorite, but of course I’ve yet to try this flavor!

    Hopefully you’re feeling better now, and screw the readers who are annoyed with sharing about life. We’re people damnit, and if we want to share that we’re fat, or we’ve gone on a fun vacation, or that the neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking, then our readers better be ready to listen to our rants :)

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  52. Lisa is Bossy says:

    Some of your posts make me so flippin’ angry…at the RETARDED things people say!! To such generous, giving, creative, talented and REAL people too. I suppose we just sigh and hope they’ll trip over their own stupid tongues and get a smack in the face from whatever they hit…

    Looking forward to hopefully seeing you in Sept, lady. Stay healthy and happy!!! *HUG*

  53. KT says:

    I love anything lemon and your recipe looks like it’s quite sour. Must try it asap.

  54. Caitlin says:

    Oh gorgeous – I always go for lemon sorbet or granita, but this looks fantastic. Gotta have faith in the recipe sometimes :)

  55. jenyu says:

    Everyone – you’re all so sweet. Thank you, I am indeed feeling much much better now. I did not, however eat the ice cream while I was sick – dairy produces a lot of mucus (ugh). Glad to know that you wonderful readers enjoy my random blatherings. You are all awesome. xxoo

    Emmelyn – That’s not my house, it’s my in-laws’ house, but thank you :)

    Tartelette – ah yes, t’was you! :) That woman was so snarky. xxoo

    Hande – thanks for that tip! Nice to know it’s possible (and plus, you rock!!) :)

    Marti – well, it looks like Hande made it without an ice cream maker, so you’re in luck!

    Emily’s Edibles – thank you! I don’t sell on etsy, but I do have a commercial site for my photography at

    Sheryl – awww! You’re such a love. xxoo

    Patricia – I think the internet gives some people the excuse to be rude because they don’t have the guts to do it to someone’s face. While there are always jerks online, I find there are far far more wonderful people such as yourself that outweigh the bad. :)

    Eesh – absolutely! :)

    Cindy – heeeeeeee! Hello sweetheart. I’ve been terrible about visiting any blogs, but I’m still keeping an eye on you – you Bezerkeley liberal, you (wouldn’t have you any other way). I’m jealous of the lemons!

    Margie – you’re very sweet :)

    Diana – my thoughts precisely!

    Debby – aw, hurray! I love it when that happens.

    Haya – I too love a good vanilla ice cream, but lemon custard is sooo perfect with fruit!

    Art and Lemons – thank you, you are so kind! I don’t do the awards thing anymore b/c I can’t keep track – but I really appreciate it.

    Mrs. Ergul – yes, it’s the chemicals. So nasty! Blegh.

    TheWoman – yes, according to Hande it will!

    Lindsey – right. If they don’t like it, why don’t they refrain from commenting and just go the hell away? Probably b/c their insecure jerks ;)

    Lisa is Bossy – ha ha ha! That is awesome :) Can’t wait to see you in Sept. xxoo

  56. Allysinnia says:

    When do you stop zesting the lemon (is zesting a word?)- I made this last night, and I got a lot of ‘zest clots’ as my roommate called ’em. I generally stop grating before I see white, but I think I went a little too far this time, or something. The flavor is amazing, but there is so much of the peel.

  57. jenyu says:

    Allysinnia – I zest just enough until I see pith. The clots are likely b/c the zest is stringy and not “fine” enough. My microplaner does a great job of getting the zest off, but they are stringy and clump in batters. I usually chop them more with a sharp knife or run them through a food processor with the sugar.

  58. Flour Child says:

    That looks (and tastes) amazing.
    I was looking for a lemon ice cream recipe and I am so happy that I stumbled across this one. I am using the recipe in my blog.
    I don’t really know the rules (are there even rules? I don’t know.) for attribution for a recipe. I got it from your blog, and you got it from tartalette, and she got it from some place in North Carolina…
    Basically, I don’t want to offend anyone. Should I include your blog in the attribution, or would that be ridiculous? I have no idea, I am so new to the food blogging community.

  59. jenyu says:

    Flour Child – however you see fit. I usually credit the person whose recipe inspired me and then people can follow the stream of attribution from there :)

  60. Courtney says:

    Hi there!
    Yours is the first on a search for lemon ice cream, and though I researched many others below it, this in fact is a great recipe! I added 2 tablespoons of lavender to the mix, and its lovely but in the future I would have added it to the custard and strained it out with the eggy lumps (biting into the flowers is nice at first but has a slightly bitter aftertaste.) It turned out sweet, tart, and floral.

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  64. Lesley says:

    Hello jenyu,
    Laughed so much reading what you have to say, you have a great sense of humour. I was stressing out trying to find the perfect dessert for my girlfriends tomorrow night and as I’m a lemon lover !! I searched for an ice cream recipe.
    Could I find a bloody lemon ice cream recipe, no ! They were all icy sorbets, and that I’m not really a fan,THEN,
    After typing in “lemon cream ice cream” – lo and behold, I found your recipe !!!! Fate for sure !!
    I am now de- stressed, got the 5 course menu all planned.
    Ta very much love

  65. Lesley says:

    The ice cream was a total success…. Delicious, fresh, velvety, and very lemony, love. It.

  66. Jette Goldie (@Wolfette) says:

    this looks gorgeous – and I have exactly three lemons in the fridge, looking for a recipe, and sweltering weather, looking for some ice-cream.

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  69. ohcrumb says:

    hello! just wanted to leave a note saying i just made this (replaced some of the lemon zest with preserved lemons) and LOVE it. the flavor is so good. i like my lemon-flavored things appropriately tart, and your recipe stuck out to me because of that. it’s winter in the northeast and i don’t have an ice cream maker, but i don’t care; i’m making this again soon. thanks for sharing this!

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  71. Kate says:

    I’ve made your Key Lime Pie ice cream and thought, why the heck not make this lemon ice cream and, at the end, fold in some crushed graham crackers – Lemon Pie ice cream. Voila! This ice cream is a heavenly, creamy custard, just like the Key Lime. I only had small eggs, so I used six yolks rather than four; extra custard consistency. Next time I’m thinking I’ll use Meyer lemons for a sweeter flavor.

  72. Stacey says:

    Hey Jen! I was wondering, what kind of ice cream maker do you use? Thanks!

  73. jenyu says:

    Stacey – I use a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker:

  74. Stacey says:

    Thanks Jen for another amazing recipe! I’m eating this as I type! It’s absolutely delicious! I’ve always wanted to try lemon ice cream, but could never find it, so thank you so much!

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