Make Ahead

Jeni's Splendid Lemon Cream Ice Cream (No Egg)

September  1, 2011
8 Ratings
  • Prep time 6 hours
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes about 1 quart
Author Notes

A genius recipe from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home, by Jeni Britton Bauer. You can use the Ice Cream Base portion as a blueprint for the smoothest, most scoopable egg-free ice cream around, and go your own way with brittles and swirls and infusions. —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • For the lemon syrup
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • For the ice cream base
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 lemons, zest of (reserved from above)
  1. Prep for the lemon syrup: Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from 2 of the lemons in large strips; reserve. Halve the lemons and squeeze enough juice to make 1/2 cup. Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and refrigerate until chilled. This won't be a very thick syrup.
  2. Prep for the ice cream base: Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
  3. Cook: Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and lemon zest in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes—watch it closely and stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't boil over. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
  4. Chill: Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
  5. Freeze: Remove the lemon zest. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and turn on the machine. Pour the lemon syrup through the opening in the top of the machine, and continue to spin the ice cream until thick and creamy.
  6. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, about 4 hours.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice
    Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice
  • lisina
  • WileyP
  • Laura Hazard Owen
    Laura Hazard Owen
  • Mountain Mama
    Mountain Mama
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

27 Reviews

Mary H. July 31, 2022
Splendid lemon flavor, lovely texture, too! Add freshly picked huckleberries at very end for interest. Perfect flavor partners!
Mary A. March 20, 2016
I just made this for the 4th time. Love it! I take out the zest strips before I put it in a bag to cool since it allows more cream mixture to remain and there's plenty of lemon flavor already. Will serve with Caribbean Rum Cake for a birthday party, this time made with tequila instead of rum (King Arthur Flour recipe).
IceCreamChronicles D. November 27, 2012
This is delicious, and I've made it leaving OUT the lemon syrup and leaving in the lemon zest, which makes it more tart! More here:
karen81 August 19, 2012
Has anyone tried using lemon curd? I was thinking it might be nice alternative to fresh lemons.
Rupal P. August 29, 2012
I have some lemon curd and was thinking of doing the same thing. I may add a bit toward the end of the mixing process to try to swirl it in. . .
Megz February 3, 2013
lemon curd will not freeze solid, so it makes a great add-in for ice creams. i do a lemon meringue ice cream that's vanilla ice cream with lemon curd and meringues...the meringues get all gooey and the curd is nice and tart, it's divine.
Sugar &. August 9, 2012
This sounds wonderful just bought some lemons yesterday will definatley have to make this soon.
lisina June 25, 2012
i can't wait to try this. i wonder how it would work with mascarpone instead of cream cheese? has anyone tried it?
IceCreamChronicles D. November 27, 2012
I think you need the FAT from the cream cheese but I'm really interested in whether marscapone would work.
PrayerPoseMom December 30, 2011
I love anything Jeni's, but the lemon is one of my favorites... I'm lucky enough to have relatives in Columbus and Nashville! Thank you for posting....
Muffin T. September 26, 2011
I made this recently and loved it, loved it. Smooth and creamy, just the right bit of citrusy tang. Splendid indeed.
Chubby B. September 15, 2011
Everything in Jeni's book is amazing. I just made five flavors of ice cream for her macaroon ice cream sandwiches for a large group (yeah, it took all weekend -- crazy) and couldn't believe the response. It was as if nobody had ever eaten ice cream before. Truly incredible ice cream. Not exactly a snap, but well worth the effort.
I haven't made the lemon ice cream but have made the lemon frozen yogurt -- I used Meyer lemons and added a touch of yuzu juice. Heaven.
WileyP September 8, 2011
I just put the results of this recipe into the freezer for its final freeze (step 6). I made it for tomorrows gathering of the San Ignacio Art League at my sister's place. I think all four of the members will be there. It was really, really put it into the freezer. I wanted to eat the whole dang batch! One hint for those thinking about making this: Don't do it unless you make enough to have a good-sized helping yourself!
Laura H. September 5, 2011
The ice cream is great, and the texture is wonderful. It's very similar to Haagen Dazs's Five Lemon ice cream. A small complaint about the flavor: I found the peel imparted a slight bitterness, which could be because using a vegetable peeler takes off more of the pith than the Microplane does.
JaneEYB September 4, 2011
This is an excellent ice cream recipe. I made it with Meyer lemons as they had just come into the market and looked fantastic. So I reduced the sugar as Meyer lemons are much less acidic. The process was a bit more detailed than many ice cream recipes but it was so worth it. It is smooth, creamy, great texture and wonderful taste. i will definitely be making it again.
Mountain M. September 4, 2011
This was AMAZING. I've made so many different ice creams and this one was most definitely the best. I am going out to get this girl's cookbook asap. :>
Jazzball September 4, 2011
Cornstarch and corn syrup? Doesn't sound so splendid to me! But the cream cheese is a nice touch.
boulangere September 4, 2011
The corn syrup doesn't bother me (anti-crystallization, I'm guessing), but I'm not so sure about the cornstarch. I'm kind of drawn to the cream cheese idea. I'm willing to give it a try.
drbabs September 5, 2011
In The Perfect Scoop, David Lebovitz has an ice cream called Fleur de Lait that uses 3 tablespoons of cornstarch instead of eggs in the base. I've used that formula a lot in home-made ice cream. It really does allow the other flavors to shine through. I guess this is why this is a genius recipe. The genius of Jeni is that she used common ingredients to enable a home cook to create delicious flavorful ice creams that are smooth and scoopable like commercial ice cream, but without a commercial ice cream maker, and this is the formula that works.
nikki S. April 9, 2012
I've made many of Jeni's ice creams and instead of corn syrup I use agave but just reduce amount by half. {1 Tablespoon agave in this recipe) They have all turned out great for me!
Erin P. August 31, 2012
You could sub tapioca syrup for the corn syrup and tapioca starch for the cornstarch. I think that's what she uses in her recipes and in the book.
nutcakes June 15, 2022
I believe she uses another starchas stabilizer in her shop. Cornstarch is for the convenience of home ice cream makers.
Victoria C. May 24, 2023
I use Lyle’s Golden Syrup instead of corn syrup and tapioca starch ( Bob’s Red Mill).
nutcakes December 11, 2023
It seems she uses tapioca (syrup).
Tav September 3, 2011
I just made this today. Jeni's recipes are sheer ice cream brilliance. Never has "lemony" been so "creamy."
familydinners September 2, 2011
I made this as my first attempt at home made ice cream. YUM!!! Now, I'll have to order her book. Tart frozen yogurt is my favorite and this really hits the spot.
Tav September 3, 2011
You are lucky to have tried a Jeni recipe as your first one! Most in traditional cookbooks include eggs. The cream cheese is a stroke of genius.