Sparkling Lemon Sorbet

Sparkling lemon sorbet is refreshing and refined. Traditionally served at the end of a meal, or as a palate cleanser, we think it also makes a stunning dessert. With just a handful of ingredients–lemon juice and zest, sugar, water, and the surprise ingredient, sparkling water–it’s a cinch to make.

A frosty, hollowed out lemon wih leaf, filled with pale lemon sorbet on a glass plate.

Adapted from Letitia Clark | La Vita e Dolce | Hardie Grant, 2021

Most bars and trattorias will have a large plastic machine constantly churning a slushy white lemon sorbetto mix to be sold in little champagne flutes with a straw at the end of a meal. It has a fizziness and freshness (like a sherbet), I wanted to replicate in my own kitchen. It is the most refreshing thing in the world, and I am convinced that the slight saltiness of a natural sparkling water enhances the zing. Serve in the hollowed-out lemon shells for added effect.–Letitia Clark


We hear you. It’s the middle of the summer and your garden is flush with produce. And you’re wondering what to do with it all. Well, it’s possible to make a few adjustements to this gorgeous little recipe to change it up a touch. While you’re simmering the syrup, you can add a handful of fresh herbs like basil, mint, lemon verbena, or lemongrass. Once you’re done simmering though, remove them as they can get bitter after a time. As well, it’s just as easy to make this recipe with any other citrus fruit you have on hand—grapefruit would be especially good.

Sparkling Lemon Sorbet

A frosty, hollowed out lemon wih leaf, filled with pale lemon sorbet on a glass plate.

Lemon sorbetto, or simply sorbetto as it is known here in Sardinia, is an example of one of the purest and simplest sorbets (originally made from just three ingredients: water, sugar, and lemon) that has become mass-produced.

Letitia Clark

Prep 45 mins

Chill Time 2 hrs

Total 3 hrs 15 mins

  • If you wish to serve this inside the lemons, cut off 1⁄2 inch (1 cm) from the bottom of the fruits to create a flat surface for them to stand upright. Cut the top off (about 1 inch [2 cm] here to create a good hat) and reserve it as a lid. Scoop out all of the flesh as if preparing a Halloween pumpkin and press the flesh through a sieve to obtain the juice for your sorbetto. You’ll need 1 cup of lemon juice for the recipe. Freeze the lemon shells before using them to serve the sorbet; they look much more effective slightly frosty and will keep the sorbetto colder longer.If not serving in the lemons, juice enough lemons to get 1 cup fresh lemon juice.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the lemon zest, sugar, and still water and bring to a boil. Simmer until syrupy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain the syrup into a bowl and discard the zest. Stir in the lemon juice and the carbonated water.
  • Chill the mixture until cold, at least 2 hours.

  • Dump into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions until thick and slushy, about 30 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, in the hollowed-out lemons, if desired.

Serving: 1servingCalories: 193kcal (10%)Carbohydrates: 52g (17%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 1g (2%)Saturated Fat: 1g (6%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 12mg (1%)Potassium: 151mg (4%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 44g (49%)Vitamin A: 24IUVitamin C: 57mg (69%)Calcium: 31mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Originally published July 24, 2021

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