Homemade Lemon Curd Ice cream is creamy, dreamy, and so pleasantly tart. The fresh lemon flavor shines thanks to the addition of lemon curd and fresh lemon juice.
For the Ice Cream:
- 3 cups half and half
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 9 egg yolks (whites reserved for another use)
- 1 cup lemon curd (recipe below)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
For the Lemon Curd (makes 1 1/2 cups):
Also linked here: Lemon Curd Recipe
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- zest from one full lemon
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus one tablespoon to add at the end
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into 16 small cubes
- optional: a few sprigs of fresh thyme
To prepare ice cream:
Place fine mesh strainer over large bowl or a large, 8 cup measuring cup, set aside.
Place half and half and sugar in medium sauce pan over medium heat.
Place egg yolks in large bowl and whisk for about 1 minute until light and frothy.
Once half and half mixture is hot and just below a boil, drizzle hot mixture slowly into eggs while whisking constantly, one ladle at a time until the entire mixture is combined.
Pour this back into saucepan and continue to cook until thickened slightly and it is just coating the back of your spoon, about 2-4 minutes.
Once thickened, pour through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl or an 8 cup glass measuring cup/pitcher (this makes it really easy to pour into ice cream maker later). Discard any solids or curdled bits that are left behind in the strainer.
Whisk in lemon curd, vanilla extract, and heavy cream until completely combined.
Allow this mixture to cool in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
Just before churning, add the fresh lemon juice and process according to your ice cream maker‘s instructions.
I use a Cuisinart ICE 100, and this recipe churns in two batches, about 4 cups each. For each batch, I add two tablespoons of the fresh lemon juice right into the maker with the ice cream base. The reason you want to add it just before churning is that the lemon juice will curdle your base if it is allowed to sit for too long after adding the lemon juice. So if you happen to have a huge ice cream maker that will hold this whole amount (lucky you!), just add all of the lemon juice at once just before churning.
When done churning you will have a soft serve consistency. Transfer to freezer safe containers (I use metal loaf pans), and press a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of ice cream to prevent the ice cream from picking up any unwanted flavors from the freezer.
This ice cream stays quite scoopable unless you have your freezer set to a crazy low temp, but if you want to pull it out about 5-10 minutes before serving it will make it that much easier to scoop. And definitely let it get soft if you’re planning to squish it between two cookies!
To prepare lemon curd:
Combine powdered sugar, zest, and lemon juice in saucepan. If using thyme, add that now as well. Stir to combine and place over medium heat.
Crack eggs into a medium bowl and whisk vigorously until light and frothy, about 1 minute.
When lemon juice mixture is very hot, take a small ladle and slowly drizzle hot mixture into eggs while whisking constantly. Add slowly, one ladle at a time, until it is all combined. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until you have a thick, pudding-like consistency that coats the back of your spoon.
Pour mixture through fine mesh strainer set over a clean bowl. Push or whisk mixture through the strainer and discard any solid bits, including thyme, left in the strainer.
Add one small cube of butter at a time, and whisk until it is completely combined before adding another cube.
Once all butter is combined, add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and whisk once more to combine.
Place in jar with tightly fitting lid, or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Make sure plastic lies directly against the surface of the lemon curd to prevent a skin from forming.