Lemon Italian Ice


Lemon ice

Here's the recipe for Lemon Ice (“Sorbetto al Limone” in Italian) we use in the family, it is quite famous amongst our friends and sometimes we are asked for it, so I thought I could share it here before the summer comes.

The recipe is somewhat inspired from the one in “Idee per Dolci al cucchiaio, Gelati e Sorbetti”, Contempora s.r.l.

Ingredients for 6 people

  • 200 g lemon juice: this is about 4 big/medium sized lemons, make sure they are not too green, the ones with thick and bumpy skin taste better IMHO;
  • 400 g water;
  • 200 g sugar;
  • 1 pinch of salt;
  • 5 g of unflavored gelatin leaves;
  • 0.5 g of vanillin; this is very important, it noticeably enhances the aroma.


  1. Make the base:
    1. put the water and the sugar into a pot,
    2. stir over a low heat to make the sugar dissolve,
    3. add some pieces of the lemons skin and let simmer for some more minutes,
    4. leave the mixture to cool completely;
  2. When completely cold:
    1. remove the pieces of lemon skin,
    2. add the lemon juice,
    3. add the salt,
    4. add the vanillin,
    5. prepare the gelatin (soak, squeeze, melt) and add it to the mixture,
    6. stir it for another minute.
  3. Put the mixture into a large and short container (a baking pan would do) and keep it into the freezer for at least 12 hours.
  4. Get the frozen block of mixture out of the pan, break it into pieces and blend them for about 1 minute or until you have a smooth but yet solid consistency.
  5. Serve or store into the freezer.

Let me know if you do it and how it tastes.

Note 1: Here in Italy if you leave a rougher texture when breaking the ice you can call it “Granita”, if you make it smoother you call it “Sorbetto”.

In order to make a Granita, instead of blending the frozen mixture, you can stir it with a fork from time to time while it is still freezing, as done traditionally in Sicily, to prevent it from becoming a single frozen block.

Note 2: When you make the “Sorbetto” variant you can even add some alcohol when you blend it: Limoncello is a good candidate.

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