American Classics: Lemon Italian Ice

Alexandra Penfold

My great, great grandfather was a lemon farmer in southern Italy. Lemons run in our blood. As a kid, lemon Italian ice was a favorite dessert. I loved the little yellow cups with the wooden spoons that were always offered on our local ice cream truck. If I was sick with a sore throat my mom would bring home a whole box of them. As much as I love lemon Italian ice, it wasn't until I was feeling a bit under the weather myself that I thought to whip up a batch at home.

Fortunately this is a very easy recipe to make, so if you're laid low by a nasty cold and sore throat like I was, it won't keep you away from your sick bed for long. All you need is some sugar, water, a whole bunch of lemons and some lemon extract. When the mixture first comes out of the ice cream maker it has a slushier texture, sort of what I imagine Philadelphia-style water ice to be (putting it on my priority list to get there for the real deal this summer!). My husband called the freshly made ice, "like a frozen lemonade." As you let it firm up in the freezer, it will take on more of the the fluffy snowlike texture you might be more familiar with. In either case, it's a good sweet treat for if your throat is scratchy and your feeling kind of blue.

Got a favorite classic American dessert recipe you'd like to see featured here? Email us with the subject: "American Classics."