I like to tinker with a recipe, seeking perfection. Sometimes, it takes months. This one snapped into place on just the second try! I really like the result. A shot of vodka prevents ice crystals so even after a few weeks in the freezer, it's smooth, not icy. It's very lemony without being too tart or too sweet.
In version 1, which was compiled from several I found online, the lemon zest was a problem. I liked the punch of lemon it gave, but the little bits of zest interfered with the otherwise smooth, almost creamy texture. Boiling the zest added bitterness. Adding the zest to the hot mix at the end and straining fixed the problem.
I also adjusted the ratios to make it less tart and not too sugary. I think it's now perfect.
This recipe can be doubled and still fit most home ice cream makers (e.g. the popular Braun and Cuisinart models). I like to make smaller batches because they freeze faster and usually colder than if you run right at the machine's capacity.
Makes 2 servings (2-1/2 cups). Can be doubled.
1-1/4 cups water
1 cups sugar
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1 tablespoon lemon zest, (2-3 lemons)
1 tablespoon vodka (optional)
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, (4-5 lemons)
To make lemon zest, use a fine grater (e.g. the Microplane), lemon zester, or very sharp knife to trim off just the outer yellow layer, with as little of the white pith as possible.
Bring the water, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil in a small saucepan and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat, add zest and cool for an hour or so.
Add lemon juice and vodka. Strain to remove zest. Chill well, either in the refrigerator, or by placing in a metal bowl over an ice bath.
Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. (This recipe should reach 16 degrees, a double recipe not quite as low.)
After the sorbet is made, transfer to an airtight container. Cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve.
Scoop using a small scoop of a melon-baller. Garnish with mint or curls of lemon zest.