I find it best to start this process in the morning before serving for dessert at dinner—just to make sure the mixture freezes sufficiently. It is the perfect dessert after a heavy meal or anytime during the summer. Light and refreshing.
1½ cups water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest, best done with a microplane
1 cup fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Remove from the heat and stir in the zest, juice, and salt.
3. Transfer to a metal bowl and cool the syrup to room temperature. Refrigerate the syrup for at least one hour.
If you are in a rush, as I usually am, you can put the bowl containing the mixture into a larger bowl filled with ice to cool it down more quickly.
4. Freeze the syrup in an ice cream maker.
OR what I usually do
Line an 8 x 8 metal pan with plastic wrap and pour the cooled mixture into it. Place it in the freezer of your refrigerator. Periodically, pull the pan out of the freezer (two or three times) and stir the mixture to break up the ice crystals.
5. Transfer to an air-tight container and freeze until firm, about two hours. Remove from the freezer about 5 minutes before serving.
Makes about 1 quart
Adapted from Ruth Reichl’s The Gourmet Cookbook