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THE LIKE-A-PRO ICE CREAM

Lemon Ice Cream
• with xanthan gum •

With lemons, milk, cream, sugar, and xanthan gum.

Xanthan gum makes for ice cream with a perfect, full-bodied mouthfeel, which churns beautifully, melts uniformly during serving, and keeps well in the freezer.

In this Lemon Ice Cream, we use both the zest of the lemons (to infuse the milk) and the lemon juice to make a lemony syrup (to add during the last stages of churning). It is creamy and zingy; and as lemony as an ice cream can be

3 more ways to make this lemon ice cream:

THE EASY! Crowd-pleasing and easy to make. Eat now, thank us later. With lemons, milk, cream, and sugar.

THE ITALIAN WAY. This is your hot weather ice cream: easy to make, and resistant to melting. With lemons, milk, cream, sugar, and corn starch.

THE FRENCH-STYLE ICE CREAM. Rich and velvety, this is a custard-based ice cream; a tad bit tricky to make, but so much worth it. With lemons, milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks.

THE EASY! Crowd-pleasing and easy to make. Eat now, thank us later. With lemons, milk, cream, and sugar.

THE ITALIAN WAY. This is your hot weather ice cream: easy to make, and resistant to melting. With lemons, milk, cream, sugar, and corn starch.

THE FRENCH-STYLE ICE CREAM. Rich and velvety, this is a custard-based ice cream; a tad bit tricky to make, but so much worth it. With lemons, milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks.

also available:

The ingredients

Do not reduce or replace anything; everything is there for a reason.

To show the ingredients for this Lemon Ice Cream recipe: milk, heavy cream, lemons, sugar, and xanthan gum.

• Xanthan gum can be found in speciality shops, health food stores and online. Read more about it here.

• Milk: use whole milk; this has approx. 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

Sugar: you can use regular sugar (white granulated sugar) or a raw cane sugar such as Demerara or Turbinado, which enhances the lemon’s flavour.

Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

• Heavy cream (for double cream read below): for this recipe you can use heavy cream with 35% to 40% fat content. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream with 35-40% fat content. Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

Lemons: the taste of the ice cream will be as good as the lemons you use. You can judge a lemon by its smell: scratch a small piece off the lemon with your nail and smell it. If it feels good, it is perfect for this ice cream. 

Use local, seasonal lemons, if possible. Imported lemons are coated with wax, which should be remove  before using their zest, by rinsing and rubbing the waxed surface with your hands under warm water. 

🇬🇧 For UK readers: if you want to use double cream -which has a higher fat content (50%) than heavy cream (35-40% fat)- stir some milk into the double cream to bring it to the right fat content. Instructions in double cream – how to use”.

To show the ingredients for this Lemon Ice Cream recipe: milk, heavy cream, lemons, sugar, and xanthan gum.

Sugar: you can use regular sugar (white granulated sugar) or a raw cane sugar such as Demerara or Turbinado, which enhances the lemon’s flavours.

Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

Lemons: the taste of the ice cream will be as good as the lemons you use. You can judge a lemon by its smell: scratch a small piece off the lemon with your nail and smell it. If it feels good, it is perfect for this ice cream. 

Use local, seasonal lemons, if possible. Imported lemons are coated with wax, which should be remove  before using their zest, by rinsing and rubbing the waxed surface with your hands under warm water. 

• Xanthan gum can be found in speciality shops, health food stores and online. Read more about it here.

• Milk: use whole milk, with around 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

• Heavy cream (for double cream see scroll to the right): for this recipe you can use heavy cream with 35% – 40% fat. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream with 35-40% fat content.

Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

🇬🇧 For UK readers: if you want to use double cream -which has a higher fat content (50%) than heavy cream (35-40% fat)- stir some milk into the double cream to bring it to the right fat content. Instructions in Double cream: how to use” notes in the recipe.

Overview

This is a quick overview of the recipe. If you are new to ice cream making, do read the recipe before proceeding. 

Infuse the milk: warm the milk with the sugar and zest the lemons directly into the hot milk. Cover and leave to infuse for 1 hour.

Make the lemon syrup: warm the lemon juice with the sugar to dissolve the sugar.

Chill until completely cold.

Bring the infused milk
to a full boil.

Pour the boiling milk into a blender jug with the cold cream.

With the blender on, sprinkle the xanthan gum.

Blend for 2 minutes to fully hydrate it.

Cool the ice cream mixture down over an ice bath.

Put the ice cream mixture in the refrigerator overnight; or until completely cold.

Strain and churn in your ice cream maker until fluffed up and creamy.

Add the lemon syrup and churn for 15 minutes more.

Put it in the freezer for a few hours to set. 

As soon as it sets, you can either serve it from the ice cream maker bowl or transfer to a container and store it in the freezer.

The recipe

Lemon Ice Cream | with xanthan gum

Lemon Ice Cream | with xanthan gum

Ingredients:
Notes:

When making ice cream prefer to weigh all the ingredients by weight. We also recommend, whenever possible, weighing the liquid ingredients directly into the bowl/pan as you proceed with the recipe instead of transferring them from one bowl to another because this transfer causes a small -but unwanted- loss of quantity.

Note that the quantities in each measuring system (grams, ounces and cups) are not accurate conversions; they are independent and calculated in a way that works for each of them, so choose the one which works for you and stick to it.

If you do not have a kitchen scale, follow these guidelines:
• 1 cup (US) = 237 ml | 1 tablespoon = 15 ml

• sugar: measuring sugar in tablespoons is more accurate than measuring it in cups. Use a 15 ml measuring tablespoon (not a regular one); this is 13 gr of sugar. To measure correctly, each time you scoop the sugar, level it with the flat side of a knife.

• liquid ingredients: thoroughly scrape with a rubber spatula any residues left on the sides and bottom of the cup every time you measure something and empty it.

Note that the quantities in each measuring system (grams, ounces, and cups) in our recipes may not be accurate conversions, while any deviations you may notice do not affect the outcome.

This recipe makes a 1.2 litre/quart ice cream mixture with its lemon syrup (before churning), perfect for ice cream makers with a capacity of 1.5 and up to 2 litres/quarts (like Cuisinart ice cream makers).

If you need to scale the ice cream mixture up or down, use this ratio of the ingredients (in weight only):

for the ice cream mixture: milk 37.2% / heavy cream 35.2% / sugar 14.58% / xanthan gum 0.12%% / lemon zest: about 1 lemon for every 350 g of ice cream mixture

for the lemon syrup: lemon juice: 9.8% / sugar: 3.1%

in desired total weight of ice cream mixture.

For example, if you want to make 1000 g (approx. 1 litre) of ice cream mixture, you need:

• 1000 g x 37.2% = 372 g milk

• 1000 g x 35.2% = 352 g heavy cream

• 1000 g x 14.58% = 146 g sugar (for the ice cream mixture)

• 1000 g x 0.12% = 1.2 g xanthan gum

• 3 lemons for their zest

• 1000 g x 9.8% = 98 g lemon juice

• 1000 g x 3.1% = 31 g sugar (for the lemon syrup)

You can combine double cream with whole milk to make heavy cream for this recipe.

To make 450 g (15.9 oz) heavy cream, stir together:

  • 315 double cream (11.1 oz) (with approx. 50% fat)
  • 135 g whole milk (4.8 oz) (with approx. 3.5% fat) -note that this milk is extra to the 475 g; 16.8 oz asked in the recipe-

The resulting heavy cream has 36% fat, perfect for this ice cream. Proceed with the recipe just as if you had the 450 g (15.9 oz) heavy cream needed.

This lemon ice cream is perfect as it is. However, if you want to boost its flavour you can substitute the regular sugar with good-quality raw cane sugar, such as Demerara or Turbinado. These sugars have a natural subtle caramel flavour which pairs well with the lemon’s citrus notes and boosts its flavour, without overriding it. 

A flexible rubber spatula is good for:
-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when you cook dairy on the stovetop.
-scraping residues from bowls, saucepans etc.

If you do not have one, we strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one. 

Instructions
Plan ahead:

The ice cream mixture needs to cool completely and rest before churning, so prepare it in advance (approx. 8 hours before) to give it time to chill in the refrigerator.

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Step 1: Infuse the milk

Warm the milk with the sugar: in a medium saucepan, put the milk (475 g; 16.8 oz) and the sugar (185 g; 6.5 oz). Warm over medium heat, often stirring until the sugar dissolves and the milk is hot and very steamy (this is at 75° C / 167° F if you have a thermometer). Do not let it boil.

Add the lemon zest: remove the saucepan from the heat and zest the lemons directly into the milk. Stir to combine.

Infuse the milk: cover the saucepan and leave the milk to infuse for 1 hour.

Step 2: Make the lemon syrup

Juice the lemons to get 125 g (4.4 oz; ½ cup and 10 ml) of lemon juice.

Warm the lemon juice with the sugar: pour the lemon juice into a small saucepan, add the 40 g sugar (1.4 oz) and warm over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat when the sugar dissolves and the juice it is hot and steamy / about 75° C / 167° F). Do not let it boil.

Cool: pour into a container and chill it in the refrigetator until it is completely cold, before using it.

Storing: in the refrigerator, for up to one week.

Step 3: Make the ice cream mixture

This step is a foolproof way to bring the ingredients to the right temperature before sprinkling the xanthan gum, without using a thermometer. To sum it up, all we do is combine part of the blend at fridge-cold temperature and the other part at boiling-hot temperature. And that’s it. The blend instantly reaches our target temperature for the xanthan gum to dissolve efficiently.

You can read more about this no-thermometer method here.

In this step, we add the xanthan gum to the blender while the blender is running. But some blenders run aggressively, splitting out their content when you remove the lid/cap, so you may want to check beforehand how smoothly your blender runs with 1200 ml of warm -not hot (55° C / 131° F)- water; let it run for a few seconds and see if you can to remove the blender lid/cap without any water split out.
Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender, keeping it submerged at all times to avoid the formation of foam on the surface.

Pour the cold heavy cream (450 g; 15.9 oz) into the blender jug and have it ready to blend (or pour it into a large bowl, if using an immersion blender). If you do not proceed 

with the recipe immediately, put it in the refrigerator to keep cold.

Bring the infused milk to a boil: uncover the saucepan with the infused milk and place it over medium-high heat. Warm, often stirring; when it comes to a rolling boil (this is when large bubbles which pop vigorously appear on the surface / 90°C / 195°F / if it starts to overflow), immediately remove it from the heat and pour into the blender jug with the cold heavy cream.

Turn the blender on (medium speed). Note: by blending that much boiling hot milk with that much fridge-cold cream, the blend instantly reaches approx. 52°C; 131°F; at this temperature the xanthan gum dissolves efficiently. 

Sprinkle in the xanthan gum: with the blender on, slowly sprinkle the xanthan gum (½ teaspoon) over the surface and blend for 2 minutes to fully hydrate the xanthan gum. Do not expect the blend to thicken; it will thicken as it cools.

Step 4: Chill the ice cream mixture

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting the bowl with the ice cream mixture into a larger bowl and filling the empty sides with ice cubes and cold water. How many ice cubes? A tray of ice cubes (200 g; 7 oz of ice) is enough to cool down the ice cream mixture: we just need to cool it down until it is no longer warm to the touch so that you can safely put it in the refrigerator. This will take approx. 20 minutes; do stir occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Xanthan gum needs 6-8 hours in the refrigerator to fully develop, so do not rush the cooling process.

Step 5: Churn the ice cream

Check if the ice cream mixture is cold before churning it: it should feel fridge-cold when you place your finger into it (4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF) .

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Strain: the ice cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve and give it a nice, thorough stir.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream maker.

Leave to churn until fluffed up and creamy, but not too thick.

Give a stir to the cold lemon syrup.

Add the cold lemon syrup in three 

additions, with the machine running. Leave to churn for 10 minutes more; or until the ice cream is fluffy and creamy.

This ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy, with the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. The total churning time depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 30-70 minutes.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft like soft-serve ice cream. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream. It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.

So, stop the ice cream maker when thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave to churn it for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Warning: some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

Step 6: Put the ice cream in the freezer to set

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream maker and: 

· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine
· remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl 
· cover the ice cream bowl and place it in the freezer 
Setting time depends on many factors; see notes below for indicative times.

If you are storing the ice cream in a container, put it in the freezer too.

Serve or store: when it sets, you can serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storage.

Storing and serving

Storing: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells. 

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice cream, freezes hard in the long term. You can make it perfectly scoopable again by putting it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minuter until soft; or until its internal temperature reads -10°C / 14°F.

Instructions

The ice cream mixture needs to cool completely and rest before churning, so prepare it in advance (approx. 8 hours before) to give it time to chill in the refrigerator.

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Warm the milk with the sugar: in a medium saucepan, put the milk (475 g; 16.8 oz) and the sugar (185 g; 6.5 oz). Warm over medium heat, often stirring until the sugar dissolves and the milk is hot and very steamy (this is at 75° C / 167° F if you have a thermometer). Do not let it boil.

Add the lemon zest: remove the saucepan from the heat and zest the lemons directly into the milk. Stir to combine.

Infuse the milk: cover the saucepan and leave the milk to infuse for 1 hour.

Juice the lemons to get (4.4 oz; ½ cup and 10 ml) of lemon juice.

Warm the lemon juice with the sugar: pour the lemon juice into a small saucepan, add the 40 g sugar (1.4 oz) and warm over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat when the sugar dissolves and the juice it is hot and steamy / about 75° C / 167° F). Do not let it boil.

Cool: pour into a container and chill it in the refrigetator until it is completely cold, before using it.

Storing: in the refrigerator, for up to one week.

Pour the cold heavy cream (450 g; 15.9 oz) into the blender jug and have it ready to blend (or a large bowl, if using an immersion blender). If you do not proceed with the recipe immediately, put it in the refrigerator to keep cold.

Bring the infused milk to a boil: uncover the saucepan with the infused milk and place it over medium-high heat. Warm, often stirring; when it comes to a rolling boil (this is when large bubbles which pop vigorously appear on the surface / 90°C / 195°F / if it starts to overflow), immediately remove it from the heat and pour into the blender jug with the cold heavy cream.

Turn the blender on (medium speed). Note: by blending that much boiling hot milk with that much fridge-cold cream, the blend instantly reaches approx. 52°C; 131°F; at this temperature the xanthan gum dissolves efficiently. 

Sprinkle in the xanthan gum: with the blender on, slowly sprinkle the xanthan gum (½ teaspoon) over the surface and blend for 2 minutes to fully hydrate the xanthan gum. Do not expect the blend to thicken; it will thicken as it cools.

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting the bowl with the ice cream mixture into a larger bowl and filling the empty sides with ice cubes and cold water. How many ice cubes? A tray of ice cubes (200 g; 7 oz of ice) is enough to cool down the ice cream mixture: we just need to cool it down until it is no longer warm to the touch so that you can safely put it in the refrigerator. This will take approx. 20 minutes; do stir occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Xanthan gum needs 6-8 hours in the refrigerator to fully develop, so do not rush the cooling process.

Check if the ice cream mixture is cold before churning it: it should feel fridge-cold when you place your finger into it (4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF) .

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Strain: the ice cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve and give it a nice, thorough stir.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream maker.

Leave to churn until fluffed up and creamy, but not too thick.

Give a stir to the cold lemon syrup.

Add the cold lemon syrup in the ice cream in three additions, with the machine running. Leave to churn for 10 minutes more; or until the ice cream is fluffy and creamy. Troubleshooting: if the ice cream becomes too thick and the ice cream maker stops churning before the lemon syrup has been incorporated, stop the machine, remove the lid and give a good stir to the ice cream with a spoon, to help the lemon syrup mix in. 

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream maker and: 

· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine

· remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl 

· cover the ice cream bowl and place it in the freezer 

Setting time depends on many factors; read How long does it take for the ice cream to set in questions & troubleshooting below.

If you are storing the ice cream in a container, put it in the freezer too.

Serve or store: as soon as it sets, you can either serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storing. 

Storing: Philadelphia-style ice cream is at its best when eaten the day it is made. If you want to keep it for longer, cover it well to protect it from the freezer’s smell and keep it in the freezer for up to one month.

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice cream, freezes hard in the long term. You can make it perfectly scoopable again by putting it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minuter until soft; or until its internal temperature reads -11° / 12°F.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, the ice cream mixture must be fridge-cold (4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your index finger into it).

If the ice cream mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not be able to churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy ice cream.

This ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy, with the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. The total churning time depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 30-70 minutes.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft like soft-serve ice cream. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream.

It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.

So, stop the ice cream maker when thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave to churn it for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Note that some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 3-5 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors.

Check it occasionally (approx. every 2 hours; or as needed) while it is in the freezer. The ice cream is ready when it has an internal temperature of -11ºC / 12ºF. If you do not have a thermometer, to evaluate if the ice cream has set, insert a round tip knife into it, all the way to the bottom: 

  • when the ice cream is ready, it feels firm as you go down, but at the same time it is soft enough to insert the knife into it; it should have this same firm consistency from top to bottom.
  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to insert into it and too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Read right below how to soften it.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve ice cream consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning sets it and brings it to the right consistency, similar to that of an ice cream parlour’s.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the ice cream is easy to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -11°C / 12°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

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