Dilemma: wrong season for iced desserts. (A moot point for all of you living in the southern hemisphere enjoying summer!) Yet, I’m still in that “honeymoon” stage with my new professional ice cream maker. And, lemon gelato is one of my absolute favourites. So…when I was reading through one of the River Cafe pocket recipe books (the one on Puddings, Cakes and Ice Creams), I spotted a cold lemon recipe that tickled my fancy.


It was a lemon sorbet made with bananas – and lots of lemons, of course. But, why bananas? I wondered, would they affect the taste? Or, were the ridiculous number of lemons listed in the recipe sufficient to override the taste of banana? And, with a little bit of lateral thinking, I wondered what it would be like if made into a creamier gelato rather than a sorbet. Would it still be really lemony? Would it still be really tart?

A number of trials later and I had a fantastic creamy and (very) tart lemon gelato. Oh, and yes, the banana does wonders for the texture and does not interfere with the lemony taste.


Lemon Gelato
Adapted and modified from the River Cafe lemon sorbet. Also scaled down from their industrial quantities.

  • 6 organic lemons – one whole, the others juiced to produce approximately 300ml lemon juice
  • 2 small ripe bananas
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) honey
  • 300ml Greek yoghurt or crème fraîche (or half each)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemoncello

Juice 5 of the lemons and keep in reserve. Take the other lemon and cut into quarters and then each quarter in half. Purée the cut lemon pieces in a food processor or blender until smooth, adding a little of the juice if required. Sieve to remove any large bits. Then return the smooth purée to the food processor and add the bananas and sugar. Process until smooth and creamy looking. Whisk this purée mixture with the lemon juice, the yoghurt or crème fraîche, honey and lemoncello until smooth. Just note that your choice of yoghurt or crème fraîche will affect the taste – the more yoghurt, the more tangy the taste. Put into the ice cream machine and process according to instructions. Store in a container in the freezer for a few hours. Remove for a short while before serving to bring it up to the perfect scooping temperature. Scoop and enjoy!




    • I can’t take credit for the idea. I saw a picture in one of the Moro cookbooks of Seville orange ice cream served in the half shell of the orange. So, with a bit of borrowing and lateral thinking, I hulled out a few of the lemons used in making the gelato. Great when you don’t have any ice cream cones handy!


  1. Bananas nonetheless! Very cool. I have a lad who loathes even the smallest whiff of them, do you think he would notice? Love, love, love tart lemon gelato. This sounds fab and what an adorable model in a pink fluffy frock you have holding the iced delight.


  2. how very cool – hehehe! Yes, this would be the perfect treat for tropical, steamy, hot and stormy Sydney. If only our lemon tree would stop being so lazy and get back to producing citrus #laziestPlantEver


    • Maybe we should send encouraging thoughts to your lemon tree! I’ve never encountered a lazy one before… Whatever the case, this gelato is worth the wait until you can harvest 6 lemons.


  3. This does sounds like a great dessert and I like that it uses Greek yogurt for a little extra tang. In our Summer, I often bring my ice cream maker to Michigan and treat Zia and her neighbors to some new frozen treat. Last Summer it was pistachio gelato. Next Summer looks to be a lemon gelato season. Thanks!


    • It is a wonderful thing having an ice cream machine. I’m enjoying my experimentation. Plus neighbours and friends are also enjoying the products – can’t keep all of them in the house or else we would be the size of the house before too long. The lemon ice with banana was a real find – from the River Cafe pocket books. Great little books.


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