Lemon and olive oil sorbet, and any other flavor you can imagine

This sorbet was one of those amazing little life surprises: you expect something to be good, or even great… and it completely blows your mind.

We made several ice creams, gelatos, sorbets and sherbets this week in class- yes, my education is every bit the torture it seems. All were winners, but this lemon sorbet actually had me on CraigsList as soon as I made it home to see if anyone around is essentially wanting to give away an ice cream machine.

It truly was that incredible. Everything tart but sweet, refreshing but decadent. Little condensed frozen ball of summer. And I have witnesses this time. Chef must have thought we were on the right track that day because he invited the administration office to join us for pie and ice cream tasting.

And the sorbet was the standout that had people talking. And wanting the recipe. And inviting me over to use their ice cream machines… be careful, K, I will take you up on that offer.

This recipe is taken from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, and I’ve added the food nerd part in italics. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. Chef explained sorbet science to us… and I love food science. Feel free to skip past that part if you lack my elevated nerd titer. I won’t be offended. But you might just like it…

Lemon and Olive Oil Sorbet, yields 1 1/2 quarts


  • 14 oz water
  • 11 oz sugar (a shy cup and a half)
  • 14 oz lemon juice (this will be lots of lemons, but completely worth it)
  • 7 oz olive oil
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp lemon zest ( I used closer to a Tbs)
Food nerd break: Sorbets are generally made by using a 1:1 ratio of a simple syrup and a fruit puree. The puree is primarily water and will freeze, while the sugar won’t freeze as solidly. A balance of these two will produce not only the flavor but also the texture of a sorbet. I’m sure there are people in the world who own a sacrometer to achieve this balance, but for the rest of us an un-cracked, raw, clean egg will work perfectly. Begin by adding about 2/3 of your simple syrup to the puree. Place the raw egg in the mixture and note how much it floats. The egg should have about a nickel size area exposed above the surface of the mixture. Adding more simple syrup will make the egg float higher (larger nickel) and adding more puree will make the egg sink lower (smaller nickel or dime). Adjust by adding more syrup or puree as needed to get to nickel stage. And, of course taste it as well to check flavor. Keep in mind that all flavors are muted a bit at colder temps, so flavor slightly stronger than you’d like the finished product.
  1. Make a simple syrup by bringing the water and sugar to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, egg white and zest to the syrup.
  3. Chill and process according to your ice cream machine’s directions.


Using the same simple syrup as a base, you have the flexibility to play with flavor profiles in similar proportions. A close runner up- Chef’s creation of the moment based on ingredients available- was a sorbet of tart cherry and fresh basil with cardamom and ginger. Fruit and herb sorbets should given a quick blend in a food processor or blender before chilling. I can imagine a lime with fresh basil and cilantro might not be bad… or perhaps a strawberry basil with a splash of white balsamic… or fresh peaches with mint and vanilla…


30 thoughts on “Lemon and olive oil sorbet, and any other flavor you can imagine

  1. I loved the sound of this sorbet from (when you first) mentioned it! Alas, I don’t have an ice cream machine but imagine a granita or good few pulses in the processor at intervals would help in assisting the process. Love the food nerd details too, πŸ˜‰ now to go in search of a glace machine & succrometer! Lol

  2. The sorbet looks so creamy and delicious. Both lemon and strawberry basil sound super-tasty. And the food nerd interlude was quite engaging! πŸ™‚

  3. Ok, I have to try this….this weekend I will attempt it! Sounds easy enough, just if I can pull it off is the challange! : ) I know you are LOVING the dessert part of culinary school ; ) Keep all the posts coming, I will enjoy reading them and wishing I was there with you! Miss you!

    • You will rock this, Miss Taya! Only wish I could hang out in your gorgeous backyard and eat some with you πŸ˜‰ Thank you so much for reading! I really do appreciate it! Anything I can do to make it better, tell me. Please! Miss you too. Hi to D and the kiddos πŸ™‚

  4. Indian sweets always have interesting flavor combination. I have not yet figured out what is in many of them, but I can imagine them making a great sorbet. Soan Papdi Sorbet….yummm.

    • You are spot on! I love the flavor combos, but also usually don’t know exactly what they are. Would a soan papdi have cardamom and roseflower and what else? Hmmm… now you have me thinking πŸ™‚

  5. I’m a bit confused by your terms. To me, a “puree” is “a smooth, creamy substance made of liquidized or crushed fruit or vegetables.”
    This is causing problems with the “float the egg” step to see if the ratio of simple syrup to puree is correct. It seemed to work best when we just mixed the lemon juice and simple syrup. The egg floated nicely. But if we added the olive oil, this sank the egg below the olive oil layer.

    Is lemon juice a “puree”? What liquid should we be testing by floating the egg?



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