Lemon Meringue Ice Cream

30 Comments
lemon ice cream

Crisp, slightly chewy meringue stirred through a rich lemony custard

The first time I tasted this ice cream, I knew I had to share it with you.

The flavour of frozen lemon is something pretty much everyone is familiar with. Whether you first tasted it in lemon ice lollies, lemon sorbet or even a slush puppy (granita to those of you who are Italian or have ever tried the slightly more sophisticated version of the lurid slop on sale in cinemas around the country), I’m pretty confident you’ll be able to find at least one childhood memory filled with that mouth-puckeringly sharp sweetness, shards of icy lemon melting on your tongue.

lemon ice cream

Make this ice cream with unwaxed lemons & large free range eggs

This ice cream is the opposite of that sharp, tart, familiar lemon flavour. It’s still bright, zingy and ultimately refreshing, but the use of a custard base and lack of any lemon juice whatsoever in the recipe results in a richer, rounder, smoother expression of lemon. It’s no sorbet and acts accordingly, lingering on your tongue with the fat from the milk and cream, mellowing the lemon, lasting longer.

I first made this ice cream a couple of weeks ago when my parents came over for supper. I wanted something simple and fairly small to serve after the fishy feast of our main course and surprised myself with how much I loved this four ingredient recipe. After we’d eaten, I tucked the remaining portion back in the freezer, thinking about how I could photograph it for the blog the next day then polish it off as a mid-morning treat.

crisp mini meringues

Crisp miniature meringues – perfect for crumbling into ice cream

Unfortunately the freezer got left open overnight (I say this without apportioning blame, but Carniverous Fiancé you know I’m looking at you) and the next morning we were welcomed by soggy frozen peas, a packet of ice which was more like water and a pathetic little custardy puddle in place of what should have been my amazing lemon ice cream.

I considered posting the recipe without photos – that’s how delicious it was – but told myself that soon enough an opportunity would present itself to make this ice cream again. And last weekend, with fifty miniature meringues made for our family engagement party and a lot of lovely leftover egg yolks to use up, that opportunity arose.

lemon ice cream

Each bite is a contrast of cool, creamy lemon & crisp then chewy meringue

Although the guests made valiant inroads into the four different desserts I’d made for the night (you can find the carrot cake and treacle tart recipes here and here), a small number of meringues survived to live another day, due largely to the fact that I was having way too much fun and completely forgot to fill and decorate the spares that hadn’t fitted on the serving plate to begin with. Not wanting them to go to waste, I decided to remake that lovely lemon ice cream, this time crumbling shards of crisp meringue into the custard after it had churned.

The resulting ice cream is every bit as delicious as I remembered. The lemon glides across your tongue, interrupted only by melting bites of sweet meringue. If you eat it the same day, you’ll still get some of that lovely brittle crispness. Leave it for a few days and over time the meringue then mellows into gorgeously chewy pockets of flavour. As long as you don’t leave the freezer door open.

lemon ice cream

A simple bowl of lemon ice cream – the perfect palate cleanser

Lemon Meringue Ice Cream
(makes approx. 1.5 litres)

Ingredients:

Zest of 2 large unwaxed lemons
125g golden caster sugar
250ml full fat milk
500 ml double cream
Pinch salt
5 large free range egg yolks
8 – 10 mini meringue nests (recipe below), crumbled into rough pieces

Method:

Add the lemon zest and sugar to a food processor and blitz.

Combine the lemon sugar, milk and 125ml double cream and salt in a saucepan and warm gently. Remove from the heat cover and set aside to infuse for one hour.

Pour the remaining 375ml double cream into a large bowl and set it over an ice bath with a mesh sieve on top.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together.

Rewarm the lemon infused mixture then slowly pour it into the egg yolks, whisking constantly until combined. Return the mixture to your saucepan and stir constantly over a medium heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a heatproof spatula.

Remove the custard from the heat and pour through the sieve into the cold cream. Discard any lemon zest left behind then whisk the ice cream mixture over the ice bath until cool.

Chill in the fridge overnight then churn according to your manufacturer’s instructions. As you remove it from the machine, fold in the crumbled meringue nests then freeze until ready to eat.

Mini Meringue Nests

This recipe will make more meringues than you need for the ice cream above but they keep well in an airtight container for one week. They are also delicious filled with whipped cream or folded into Eton Mess.

Ingredients:

5 free range egg whites
220g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflower, sieved
1 tsp white wine vinegar

Method:

Preheat the oven to 120 degrees C and line two large baking trays with parchment.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add half the sugar and continue to whisk to soft peaks. With the whisk attachment still running, slowly incorporate the remaining sugar, until firm peaks form. Fold in the cornflour and vinegar.

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe concentric rounds of meringue onto the baking sheets, piping two additional rings round the edge to create a nest. If you want to be exact, draw circles on the underside of the baking parchment before you start piping, approx. 7cm in diameter.

Bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours or until the meringues feel crisp and lift off the paper easily. Leave in the oven to cool for a couple of hours, or overnight if you can.

Transfer the meringues to an airtight container and consume within a week.

 

30 RESPONSES TO Lemon Meringue Ice Cream

  1. carlienkie -

    It’s recipes like these that make me wish I had an ice cream maker….sounds absolutely divine!

  2. This sounds glorious. I haven’t made meringues in aaages and now really want to! Also, you sound remarkably calm about your freezer incident. When one of my housemates left the freezer open a couple of years ago, I was absolutely livid!

  3. I quite often make the Delia lemon meringue ice cream as it doesn’t require an ice cream maker and it’s one of my absolute favourite flavour combinations. I love the brightness of the lemon with the sweetness of the meringue. Your pictures here are fab too; I’m so glad you had the chance to remake if (although what a pain about your freezer…)

  4. I am not one for lemon sorbet (except as a palate cleanser or blended with vodka now and then) but a lemony, custardy ice cream I love. With meringue even better. And the perfect way to use up the leftover egg whites, genius! Now I only have to get over my fear of making meringue…

  5. A fantastic ice cream, the bits of just mixed meringue are genius! Love this and your pics.

  6. I’m so going to have to try this! I absolutely adore lemon meringue. I love those photos of the ice cream melting. Gorgeous.

    • Carlie – it’s such a worthwhile investment, I don’t know what I’d do without mine now.

      Elly – haha, luckily there wasn’t too much stuff in there. If it had happened a week later when all my baking for our engagement party was in there it might have been a different story :-)

      Kathryn – I’ve seen the Delia recipe on your blog – it’s made with Greek yoghurt isn’t it? Imagine that works wonderfully with the lemon, although I’m very partial to this version too.

      Nuts About Food – perhaps it’s just luck but I’ve never had problems with meringue (touch wood!). Do give it another go, it’s such a delicious dessert and once you’ve cracked it I bet you’ll wonder what you ever worried about.

      Paula – thank you :-)

      Jennifer – it was a lot of fun to photograph (and very messy!)

  7. Jaime -

    What a lovely, lovely creation!

  8. My Kitchen Stories -

    This is so tempting. I dont often eat icecream but the thought of this lemony crunchy delicious concoction is very enticing….wish I had an ice cream machine

  9. laura_howtocook -

    I love everything about this recipe. The colour, flavours and sharpness contrasting to the sweetness of the meringue. My husband has been known to leave out freezer door ajar on a few occasions too!

  10. You’ve outdone yourself. Lemons. Meringues. Oh my.

  11. I can’t really resist a good lemon ice cream and yours, with the addition of some homemade meringue, looks delicious. I think your fantastic recipe is almost worth me investing in an ice cream machine for. Thanks for sharing

    • Jaime – thank you!

      My Kitchen Stories – I probably eat it too much – one of the perils of owning an ice cream machine :-)

      Laura – ah, thank you. And good to know I’m not alone ;-)

      Nic – it’s not actually that sour, the sharpness of the lemon is balanced by the cream and milk. But yes, perfect for summer weather.

      Michelle – glad you like it :-)

      Big Hungry Gnomes – it’s totally worth investing, go on – you won’t regret it!

  12. You keep giving me valid reasons to cave in and buy an ice cream maker. This looks so delicious! Hope your engagement party was a smash!

  13. Thanks for sharing this, it is stunning and an ice cream that is lemon meringue flavoured? Oh yes, that’s my kind of treat! Karen

  14. Amy -

    I have made this lemon ice cream a couple of times, but using a food processor rather than an ice cream maker (no space for another gadget!) and it is fantastic – you describe it perfectly. I like your idea of adding the meringue though and homemade are so much better than those horrible shop bought nests. So easy to leave the freezer door open; I am sure most of us have done it. I certainly have!

  15. I may or may not occasionally devour an entire batch of ice cream before photographing it just so that I HAVE to make it again. Though I admit to nothing. :P This sounds amazing! I love lemony sweet treats.

    • Connie – it was SUCH a fun party, I didn’t want it to end!

      Karen – so glad you like it :-)

      Amy – you’re right, homemade meringues and the shop-bought version just don’t compare. Although if you were in a hurry, I reckon you could use them in this.

      Joanne – haha, your secret’s safe with me :-)

  16. I am not a chocolate addict, so this ice cream would be perfect for me! It sounds so delicious:-) I am so sorry about your freezer, that would be so sad, and frustrating. Hope you are well, Hugs, Terra

  17. Ooo yum! This icecream looks amazing. Bookmarking until I manage to buy my kitchenaid mixer the icecream attachment.

  18. laythetable -

    Oh god this just sounds INCREDIBLE! Much nicer than a sorbet especially with lovely little meringue bites. We’ve had a couple of incidents with our freezer turning itself off and finding carnage inside it!

    • Sylvie – eton mess ice cream is delicious – just swap out the lemon custard for vanilla and fold through crushed strawberries or strawberry jam. Yum!

      Terra – a lot of people prefer bright, zingy desserts to chocolate. I like both, but this ranks very high on my list of favourites.

      Amanda – do it!

      Becs – this is a million miles away from sorbet, so much creamier and more satisfying.

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  21. This looks amazing. I’m excited to say I’ve never heard of this recipe (or such a flavor of ice cream) so thanks very much for sharing! Also, love your photography.

    • My pleasure and thank you, so pleased you like the recipe.

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