13 Jun

Lemon Rosemary Sorbet

We’re not really a dessert family if you’re the type who thinks chocolate chip cookies after dinner are dessert but a ripe juicy plum is not. (I like cookies quite a lot but prefer to eat them all throughout the day, when no one can see me.) We always have roasted marshmallows after a hot dog campfire in the backyard (I like mine CHARRED; mmmm, tasty, tasty cancer), but otherwise, it’s pretty rare that we go the cookie/pie/ice cream route, in part because we’re paranoid that giving Wombat sweets right before bedtime will make it harder for him to wind down and stay in bed. (“You gave him how many jelly beans? Three?! At one time? Okay, so we’re fucked is what you’re saying.”)

What we do do quite regularly, though, is have treats throughout the day. When it’s summer and I’m not pregnant, one annual ritual I perform to herald in the season is make a giant batch of Bourbon Slush and stock up on maraschino cherries. It’s made with lemonade juice, black tea, and of course bourbon, so it’s pretty much the best thing ever. It’s REALLY boozy, though, so this year my alternative is something a little milder, although it too packs a good buzz in its own non-alkie way.

During the summer I was pregnant with Wombat, my friend Sarah, who used to blog as “Jemima,” sent me her recipe for Lemon-Rosemary Sorbet. It’s brilliant for many reasons (no special ingredients, tools, or equipment; no crazy complicated instructions; and back then I found delightful symmetry in having a rosemary bush growing directly beneath our lemon tree (this was before we ripped it out because we’d, uh, killed it; luckily we have another in the front yard)), but most importantly it’s top-drawer delicious. You should make some.

Lemon Rosemary Sorbet a la Jemima

1 1/4 c sugar
1/4 c light corn syrup
2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped rosemary
1 1/3 c lemon juice (about 7 lemons; we use Meyers)
2 teaspoons lemon zest (optional)
4 c water

In a saucepan, heat sugar, corn syrup, and 4 c water to boil on high. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in rosemary. Cover and let steep for 20 minutes.

Pour mixture through a sieve to strain rosemary. Stir in lemon juice and zest. Pour into a pan and freeze about 3 hours, stirring occasionally to keep it soft. OR, just let it free overnight or however long you feel like, and then break it apart with an ice pick or something. (This is what I do, and I use a less intimidating fork.)

In a Cuisinart with the knife blade attachment, blend the frozen lemon mixture until smooth but still frozen. Return to baking pan and let freeze at least 3 hours. The pan makes for easier scoopage, but you can freeze it however you want. (I actually don’t use the Cuisinart at all. I let the pan sit out for 5 to 10 minutes to soften a little and then I just mash the mixture around with a fork until it’s slushy. You will have some chunks that way, but it tastes the same and you have fewer dishes to wash, so that’s what works for me.)

It’s so good, you guys. SO GOOD. I’m careful to warn first-timers to take it easy on portion size (Jemima’s original recipe says “Keep the portions small; it gives your mouth a total rush, but more than a small bowl will turn your head inside out”), but then I always end up getting seconds myself, so perhaps I’m being overly cautious. Or greedy.

She also says this works extremely well with vodka or rum, but for the next month or so I think the farthest I’ll go is to swap out the rosemary for some mint. Living large, a.k.a. nine months pregnant, means living small for another few weeks. And always having a second serving.


  • Oh wow, this sounds delicious. I am a HUGE fan of anything lemon-flavoured.

  • Oh man! That looks so good … as does the bourbon slush. Which-ever shall I try first?? Also – belated kudos to you for camping whilst pregnant! You are hard-core :)

  • This was so good! I immediately posted that I’d make this soon on Friday and then I did actually do so on Sunday. But my family didn’t get to enjoy it until yesterday.;.( (Note: I heavily sampled it during the slushy stage Sunday night). We brought the dish out to the pool yesterday and dug in – no muss, no fuss. I can totally see the addition of vodka working but this sorbet was perfect as assembed per Jemima/you. Very refreshing, sweet but not too… Thank you for sharing.

    • Looks like the “l” dropped off of “assembled” up there after I hit the Submit button…. d’oh!

    • Yay! Easy and amazing, right? I need to make a few more batches so I’ll have some on hand when guests come to visit Mompth.

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