This recipe is quite possibly my all-time favorite. Any time I have friends over for dinner, I make sure this figures into dessert plans. Often times, no dinner is necessary — I just tell guests who happen to be over that they’ve got to try this! And now that they’ve tried my lemon ice, I make sure to always have a pint stockpiled in the freezer – just in case I have an unannounced guest.
The real secret here is to freeze the ice a second time. For that reason, the ice has to be made two days in advance. There’s really no way around it. But if you can spare two days, here’s how you make my version of
Lemon Italian Ice
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
DOWN TIME: Requires overnight freezing
YIELD: 4 Cups (10 to 12 Servings)
WHAT TO GRAB:
1 1/4 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
1 piece of ginger (like 3 inches long, peeled and chopped into four pieces)
Zest of 2 lemons, chopped
1 cup of lemon juice (about six lemons)
Crushed Ice (I use one full ice-cube tray)
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan, over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Like five or ten minutes, but don’t let it boil. Dump the ginger into the sugar water, and give it two minutes over the heat. After two minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat, and cover. This allows the ginger to seep in the hot water.
2. (Optional). To hollow out the lemons, cut the lemons at the top 1/3, reserving the tops for later. You should also cut a thin slice from the bottom, so that the lemons will lay flat. Using a tablespoon, hollow out the lemons as best you can, while being sure not to pierce the lemons themselves. Freeze the shells at least overnight.
3. In the meantime, squeeze your lemons (or the removed pulp), until you 1 cup of strained lemon juice. You don’t want any seeds or pulp. Combine the lemon juice, crushed ice, and ginger syrup (minus the ginger!) in a large blender. Give it a whirl. Add the chopped lemon zest, and give it one more whirl.
4. Pour the mixture (essentially lemonade at this point) into three plastic cups. Cover the cups and freeze them overnight.
5. The following day, dump the frozen lemonade cups into the blender again, and mix well. This step really softens the ice and prevents any sort of layering. Pour the softened lemon ice slushy into a large yogurt container (for instance) and place back in the freezer. After a few hours, it’s ready when you are!
6. You can serve in the lemon cups (as shown), for great presentation. Or you can serve in cold ramekins, for those who want a larger portion. It’s great either way.