Lemon-Basil Sherbet

Lemon-Basil Sherbet

There’s another frozen and basil-containing treat. But the basil here is not dominant and very pronounced; it’s more of a subtle and intriguing accent. The sherbet is tangy, refreshing and light. And it’s so effortlessly put together. For an appealing presentation the sherbet can be served in the juiced hollowed lemons (reserve the juice for making the sherbet and keep the leftover juice (if any) for other use.

I’m thinking this sherbet would be nice layered with espresso granita in a glass… I’ll try it next time. There’s nothing left to experiment with now.

Just slightly adapted from Alice Medrich’s “Pure Dessert”.

This is my entry for this month’s CLICK event (Citrus).

Makes about 1 quart


  • A large bunch of basil (leaves weight – 30 g)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
  • 2 2/3 cup whole milk
  • Grated zest of 2 medium organic lemons


Tear the basil leaves roughly. Put the leaves and sugar into a medium bowl. With your fingers massage the leaves with sugar to release the basil aroma. Add the lemon juice to the bowl, stir, cover, and let stand for an hour.

Stir the milk into the lemon juice mixture. Strain through a fine sieve into another bowl or a large liquid-measuring cup, pressing lightly on the basil leaves. Add the lemon zest. Chill for about 4 hours. Process in an ice cream maker. If there’s any lemon zest accumulated on the dasher, scrape it and stir it back into the sherbet with a fork. Serve the sherbet soft right from the ice cream maker or transfer into an airtight container and transfer to the freezer to firm up (at least 3 to 4 hours) before serving.

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27 Responses to “Lemon-Basil Sherbet”

  1. Hi
    you have the nice blog site and i loved your creations..good to have browsed through.

  2. I like the idea of using the lemon peels as containers :). Very cute! I’ve yet to use basil in anything sweet, but I’m so tempted to, it’s such a fresh ingredient!

  3. I also love the idea of serving these in lemon peels. Clever girl!

  4. Simply gorgeous! Love the presentation!

  5. Oh,gosh,what a beautiful picture.
    I really admire your talent as a photographer as well as a pastry chef.
    Vera, I tried your recipe of tuiles today. They aren’t perfect like yours(they are still hard to make),but way better than before. Can I,once again, mention you on my blog and translate the recipe in Japanese?

  6. Anamika, thank you for stopping by and leaving such a kind comment.

    Sophie, thank you. I love the basil in sweet and savory dishes. Give it a try in something sweet, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

    Dragon, thank you.

    Melody, thank you very much!

    Noa, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m deeply touched.
    I’m glad the tuiles turned out better this time. I have developed quite heat-resistant fingertips, so, it’s easy for me to roll hot from the oven tuiles :). Otherwise, it might require a little practice. It’s also better to use several spoons at once rather than reusing only one spoon and wasting time on removing already shaped tuile before proceeding to roll another.
    I’ll be glad and flattered if you mention me on your blog. Noa, I’ve been trying to leave a comment on your blog and let you know how much I love the gorgeous photos, but couldn’t find a way to do it (obviously, my Japanese could use some work :). So, I’m telling you now :).

  7. ‘There’s nothing left to experiment with now’ I think it must be a great compliment for any pastry cook to not have anything left of their creation to experiment with. You must be doing something right!! So lucky to have a family that loves what you made each time!!

  8. Love the presentation! Yummy

  9. Holy lemony goodness! Simply adore your creations and your photos! Love the egg-looking lemon

  10. Fantastic photo! Lemon and basil…wonderful together! The photo, the presentation, the flavors..inspiring.

  11. Wow never thought basil would be good for desserts :-) you always amaze me. Good i ve got a bunch and didn’t know how to use it apart from pesto :-)thanks for the recipe

  12. this just screams “REFRESHING”. i imagine that the temperature could be in the triple digits and one bite of this would make that completely irrelevant. :)

  13. I love the picture, and I’m sure I’d love the sherbet too :)
    I’m amazed that there wasn’t any trouble with the lemon making the milk curdle. Maybe the sugar is keeping it from curdling…

  14. Christy, I’m very lucky, indeed. My family always appreciatively consumes everything I make :)

    Lore, thank you.

    Nikki, thanks a lot.

    Camille, thank you very much. You are so right, they are perfect together.

    Natalie, I’m glad you liked the recipe. Basil is versatile.

    Grace, thank you. You are right about the temperature. It gives me a couple of seconds to take a picture. And after that I can drink my sherbet :)

    Linda, thank you very much. The milk does curdle, and that what it’s supposed to do. After the sherbet base is frozen, nobody would ever suspect it was made from the sour milk :)

  15. I love fresh sherbets! My mom used to make sherbet fizzes by scooping sherbet into tall glasses and topping it with seven up or ginger ale!
    Your photo’s are beautiful! :)

  16. STUNNING! I am a big fan of putting the ice cream into a fruit shell-it always looks so creative and elegant. Wonderful picture too. :)

  17. So lovely, and sounds so refreshing too. Great photo!

  18. Laurie, thanks for the compliment. Your mother’s way of serving sherbets sounds just great. Can I use beer instead? :)

    Ivy, thank you very much.

    Y, thank you. It is refreshing, you have my word :)

  19. Nice scoop, Vera. I’m sure it tastes very refreshing. I made similar flavor to your a while ago, but I used lime and Thai basil. :)

  20. Delicious looking sherbet, and the photo is just stunning!

  21. How cute and festive is this? I’ve seen sherbets prepared in lemons and oranges before but never with a hint of basil. I like it.

  22. Thip, Miri, Giz, thank you very much for your comments!
    I’m very much obliged.

  23. Great way to cool off! My favorite sorbet is lemon in lemon cup and I love the addition of basil!

  24. What a gorgeous photo! Not only is it one of my favorite colour schemes, but I love the light shining through the basil leaf. It look so fresh and delightful.

  25. Helen, Pinky, thank you very much for your kind words!

  26. elegant shot with great soft lighting. I like it very much.

  27. Dwiana, thank you so much!!

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