It’s been hot. Really hot. Record shattering, make you mad hot.

I guess that’s what one should expect during a Texas summer, but this year feels a little extreme. Like, dustbowl hot. Because of this, my mind has turned to cooling refreshment more and more. And while cooling refreshment can easily be a synonym for coldbeer in the shade. It doesn’t have to be. And lemons are a perfect example of this.

I love lemons. Especially the rind. It’s got this great oily, astringently clean flavor that brightens everything and can even feel like it cools you off a bit.

Awhile ago I was sitting in air conditioning and glaring out the window at the unfair amount of ass-blistering heat waffling off the pavement when I thought of lemon vanilla ice cream. I figured that it’s hard to beat a nice bit of homemade vanilla ice cream on a hot day, and lemon might just round it out to taste even more like summer. So I made it and it did. The lemon and vanilla play off each other to an end that tastes sweet but a little bright, moderately acidic and a little like lemon pound cake. The other great thing was that making ice cream gave me an activity to enjoy while frittering away my daylight hours before enjoying a cold bowl of citrusy refreshment that evening . At that point the sun was down and Austin had cooled off all the way to 93. Jacket weather, really.

Lemon Vanilla Ice Cream
24oz milk/cream mixture
6 oz sugar
6 oz egg yolks
1 vanilla bean split and scraped
7 lemons

Put your milk/cream in a sauce pan. Scrape the vanilla bean and put the seeds and pod into the cream. Scrub your lemons thoroughly if they have wax on them and cut the ends off each of your lemons, creating a flat surface for each lemon to stand on. Toss the lemon ends into the cream and vanilla mixture. Heat the mixture and steep the vanilla and lemon for 15-20 minutes. Whisk the sugar and egg yolks together. Remove the lemon ends and vanilla pod (reserving the pod for later use if you like). Temper your eggs, then mix everything together stirring till the mixture thickens. Strain and cool the mixture thoroughly.

Take 6 of your lemons and cut them in half. Juice them out so that only the rind and pith are in tact, make some lemonade with your fresh lemon juice. Put the newly created lemon bowls in the freezer to set up. Zest the remaining lemon.

When the ice cream mixture has cooled, put it in your ice cream maker and add the lemon zest. Whip to desired consistency then spoon it into your lemon bowls and refreeze to set up. Enjoy it with your lemonade.


  1. AG says:

    We planted a lemon tree a month ago and it’s already full of baby fruit. I believe this will be our first windfall recipe…. if we can wait that long. Scrumptious!

    • Jake says:

      You’ll have to let me know how it goes. When we lived in SD I was always a little jealous of the people who had lemon and fig trees in their yard.

  2. teresa v says:

    that looks so pretty! and delicious! perhaps THIS should be my first foray into ice cream making. still have to get an ice cream machine though.

    • Jake says:

      Thanks. It’s been so damn hot staying indoors and making ice cream have become a bit of a full time preoccupation of mine. Lemme know how it turns out when you start making it.