Here we go, my fourth Philosopher’s Stone recipe: Harry’s cheap lemon ice lolly aka creamy lemon popsicles!
As a child and teenager, I spent all my summers in France and I never really had or even saw, popsicles there. I don’t think that water-based frozen treats on sticks will ever have a big following in France. After all, we’re the land of butter and crème fraîche. In summer it is much more common to see people sharing an ice cream cone than a popsicle. Granted, sometimes, someone might feel more inclined to have something less heavy than ice cream, but he/she would pick a fruity sorbet flavor at the ice cream parlor. But sorbet on a stick, that’s a rare sight.
In Martinique (tiny island in the Caribbean where I grew up) we didn’t have popsicles either but we had, what we called, sinobol. It took me years and years to realize that the name actually came from the English word ‘snowball’. A sinobol is a frozen treat composed of crushed ice drenched in a colorful (probably full of chemicals) syrup. It would be served to you in a plastic cup with a straw. You would sip all the sweetened melted ice and throw the rest afterwards when you would be out of syrup. We didn’t even name them by their flavors (mint,mixed berries, almond,…) but by their colors.
I would only get sinobols from time to time when were at the beach on weekends and I would always get the green one. I haven’t had a sinobol in a decade, I never even thought about them once during all this time (I mean it’s not thaaat good). But now as I’m typing this and if I close my eyes I can still taste the taste of the cold minty sinobol mixed in with the taste of salt that the sea left in my mouth. And I’m suddenly craving one. Anyway, that’s the closest I ever got to a popsicle.
MAKING POPSICLES WITH SHERBET
I do hope that popsicles are a bit more refined than crushed ice cubes drenched in an overly sweet syrup. If not, honestly I don’t see the point. If you’re thirsty and hot just drink water, you would be better off. I guess I didn’t acquire an adult taste for frozen fruity desserts. I always find sorbets to be too icy, too sour, too bitter,… A total disservice to the fruits. I would rather have the fruit, or more likely scoops and scoops of creamy fruit ice cream. But sherbet, that’s something I can get on board with and that’s why I used lemon sherbet to make my creamy lemon popsicles.
The taste of fruits combined with cream, dreamy! By law sherbet should, only, contain 2% dairy (milk or cream), the rest being fruits or sugar. It makes for a richer and creamier treat, compared to sorbet (which doesn’t contain any fat). But I will admit that my sherbets are much closer to ice cream than sorbet when you check the fat content. And for my defense, I come from the land of butter and crème fraîche remember? However, even if my lemon sherbet is almost as creamy as ice cream it’s far less complicated to make.
This recipe is not custard-based, meaning it doesn’t contain any egg yolks that you need to slowly cook on the stove with the rest of the ingredients until the mixture thickens. The creamy part of my lemon sherbet comes from the heavy cream that will be whipped to soft peaks before being incorporated into the rest. So if you have a hand mixer, you will find it far simpler to make than a custard, without any compromises on texture. Sherbet makes for really creamy lemon popsicles.
SWEET VERSUS SOUR
As for the sourness or bitterness that I don’t enjoy in frozen treats, I fought it by using the best lemons I could find and limiting how much juice I used. I started with 3 lemons and then slowly decreased to 2. I could also enjoy this sherbet with less lemon juice but my husband says any less and it doesn’t taste enough like lemon to be called a lemon sherbet, so 2 it is then. While testing for lemon quantities I had in mind a special lemon candy I used to have at birthday parties as a child. It was very creamy with just a hint of lemon tartness at the end. That’s the flavor I tried to recreate for these creamy lemon popsicles.
You could add more lemon juice if you prefer a sharper lemon taste. If you don’t have a popsicle mold, you could serve the sherbet as ice cream by freezing it in a container with a tight-fitting lid and serving scoops. Anyway, I’m sure you will find these creamy lemon popsicles the perfect summer treat; with their lush texture and slight tartness. They are perfect served along with sweet summer fruits.
➝ How to make creamy lemon popsicles? I find ice lollies to be pretty boring so I make lemon popsicles with ice cream (technically sherbet) instead of lemon-flavored water. To make these creamy lemon popsicles, you first make some lemon candied peels (or you can buy them), make a simpler version of a lemon ice cream custard, churn it and then fill the popsicle mold. Then all you have to do is wait for the popsicles to freeze and harden enough before unmolding them.
➝ Why is cornstarch added to sherbets? Cornstarch works as a stabilizer. It prevents the formation of ice crystals, making the ice cream smoother and silkier. You also add 1 tbsp of vodka to the sherbet base before churning, as it lowers the freezing point and has the same effect.
➝ How to unmold popsicles? What works best for me is to plunge the molds ¾ deep into hot water for 20 seconds before pulling the sticks while pushing upward the top of the creamy lemon popsicles with my other hand.
➝ How long can I keep homemade popsicles in the freezer? As these creamy lemon popsicles are made of sherbet, not sorbet you can only keep them for 2 weeks since they are made with dairy. If your popsicles were sorbet-based (only containing a mix of water and sugar) you could keep them for up to 4 months, but after 1 month they would get icier and icier.
Looking for other ice cream recipes? Here are some of my favorites:Print
These creamy lemon popsicles are made with sherbet and candied lemon peels mixed in for extra pizzazz. Served with fresh summer fruits, it’s my go-to dessert for something light but still indulgent!
For the candied lemon peels:
100g caster sugar (½ cup)
200ml water (¾ cup+ 1 tbsp)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
For the lemon sherbet:
240ml milk (1 cup)
135g caster sugar (⅔ cup)
100ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 big lemons) (around ⅓ cup +1 tbsp)
1 tbsp cornstarch
240g heavy cream (1 cup)
2 tsp yellow food coloring
1 tbsp vodka
For the candied lemon peels:
Cook the lemon peels. Wash the lemons and with a peeler, delicately peel the zest. Try to avoid peeling the white pith as much as possible, as it’s bitter. Put the sugar and water in a medium-sized heavy-based pan over medium heat. Gently bring to a boil and stir from time to time to dissolve the sugar. When the water is boiling put the lemon peels, lower the heat and cook for 12 min. The peels are ready once they became almost translucent.
Dry them out. Take them out of the pan with a slotted spoon or a fork and place them on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Let them cool down and dry completely for 8h, or overnight when the custard is chilling in the fridge. Then cut them into small pieces with a sharp knife. Sprinkle the granulated sugar on top of the chopped candied lemon peels and mix. It should prevent them from sticking to one another.
For the lemon sherbet:
Make the lemon sherbet. Put the sugar and milk in a medium-sized heavy-based pan over low heat. Cook for 3 to 5 min or until the sugar has completely dissolved, stirring from time to time. Pour the milk mixture into a mixing bowl and let cool down completely. Dilute the cornstarch in the lemon juice in a small bowl and mix well. Pour this into the mixing bowl and whisk well.
Whip the cream. With a hand mixer, whisk the cream until you reach the soft peaks stage. It helps to put the bowl in which you will whisk the cream for 30 min in the freezer beforehand. Delicately fold the whipped cream little by little into the milk mixture.
Chill and churn. When everything is combined, cover tightly with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the lemon sherbet ‘custard’. Refrigerate for 8h or overnight. After chilling, add the food coloring and whisk the custard until smooth. I find pale yellow prettier but if you prefer a brighter yellow, feel free to add more coloring. Scrape the custard into your ice cream maker. Churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Near the end add the vodka and candied lemon peels* cut into small pieces.
Fill the mold. Fill the popsicle mold almost to the top with the lemon sherbet. Do not overfill them or they will overflow thus making it harder to extract the popsicles. Press the sticks deep inside the molds. The deeper they are, the easier it will be to take out the popsicles. Freeze for 8h or overnight.
*The day I took the photos I forgot to add the peels at this stage, which is why I sprinkled them on top (as you can see in the photos).
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 246
Keywords: easy summer desserts, healthy summer desserts, light summer desserts, homemade sherbet