Lemon Gelato

Lemon Gelato

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12
The brisk, refreshing taste of lemon is always welcome after a meal. In this velvety ice cream, crème fraîche contributes richness and a flavor reminiscent of cheesecake. Look for crème fraîche in good cheese shops and specialty-food stores. Serve the gelato with thin, crisp cookies.


  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 lemons
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream


In a nonaluminum saucepan, combine the half-and-half and cream. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of 1 lemon in long strips. Add to the cream mixture. Place over medium heat and bring just to a simmer.

Meanwhile, grate the zest from the remaining 2 lemons. In a food processor, combine the sugar and grated lemon zest and process until well mixed. In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and lemon sugar. Whisk until pale and smooth. Slowly whisk in the hot cream, then return the mixture to the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture visibly thickens and coats the spoon, about 4 minutes. Do not allow it to boil or it will curdle.

Remove from the heat and stir for 1 minute. Let cool for 15 minutes, then whisk in the crème fraîche. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 8 hours.

Strain the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.To serve, scoop the gelato into serving dishes. Makes about 1 1/2 quarts; serves 12.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Classic Pasta at Home, by Janet Fletcher (Time-Life Books, 1998).