Simple Summer Recipes: Lemon Verbena Sorbet

I love to bake. Bread, cupcakes, cookies, pies, count me in. But our house does not have central air and flipping the oven on in July and August for any length of time is an invitation to self flagellation. A cocktail party in Hell. I do my best to avoid it. Still, we do our best to only indulge in sweets we make ourselves, so how to satisfy the sweet sugar craving for dessert  when our kitchen turns into a sweat lodge? There’s only one answer.

I want you to head down into your basement. Are you there? Good. Now head to the back where you stored that waffle iron, platinum candle sticks and champagne toasting flutes. Find them? Okay, nearby should be the ice cream maker you also register for, received and maybe used once in a fit of newly wed bliss. Dig it out and bring it upstairs because it shouldn’t be locked in the land of little used appliances. That bucket and churner should a summer staple.

Now some ice cream recipes are complicated and some can be very finicky. I’ve made both, but sometimes I’m tired and slowly heating up yolks without curdling them is just a bridge too far. I want something dead simple that I can make with a toddler screaming in my ear and hanging off my arm.

The raw materials 


Lemon Verbena Sorbet
(adapted from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book by Bruce Weinstein. By far the best and most reliable homemade ice cream recipe book I’ve found.)

1 c. sugar

2c. water

1 egg white

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3/4c. fresh lemon juice (~3 lemons) or to taste

2-3 T. of minced lemon verbena

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat to create a simple syrup. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then raise the heat and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Add the herbs at the end

With a hand mixer, lightly beat the egg whites for 10-20 seconds until foamy then slowly beat into the hot syrup. When the meringue/syrup cools slightly, add the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate till cold (best to do it over night, but you want it cold, no less than 6-8 hours). Don’t worry if there’s still foam, it will be incorporated when mixed and frozen.

Add to the chilled mixture to the little used ice cream maker and run according to the mixer’s instructions. Add the minced herbs in the last few minutes.