Lemon Meringue Ice Cream


In some of the past ice cream posts, I broke down the ratio of air to other components in ice cream. This recipe was my attempt at exceeding the aeration maximum. The meringue folded into the custard amplifies the amount of air that can be added directly to the ice cream by combining the best feature of meringue and ice cream.

Here’s a snippet from my latest “Food Manual” post. I’m trying to make these a major feature for the site. This one is everything you need to know about ice cream making.

For optimal texture, you need plenty of milk proteins to stabilize the ice cream. I recommend that at least half of the custard base be milk based and the other half be cream based. Also if you are adding something high in fat, like browned butter, to the custard then you need to cut the cream a little and replace it with milk.

In terms of freezing point depression, the main solutes (ingredients) that lower the freezing point are sugar, salt, and alcohol. Sugar has the least dramatic effect on freezing depression. However, sugar based ice creams also melt much more slowly. If the freezing point depression is too low, then the ice cream will be very resistant to freezing. You’ll have small puddles of unfrozen liquid in your ice cream. Salt is also a force to be reckoned with in terms of freezing point depression. In fact it is the most dramatic of all of the solutes because of its ionic properties. Salt breaks down into sodium and chlorine meaning it has at least twice the power of sugar (it actually has more than 10 times the ability). The trade-off is that salt based ice creams melt the fastest.

I know that you don’t want to use the Van’t Hoff Equation every time you make ice cream, so I’ll give you some of my ratios. My go to amount of sugar for a batch of ice cream is ¾ cup with 1/8 tsp of salt. If I’m adding alcohol, I add ½ cup of sugar with 1 ½ tbs of 40% alcohol by volume. The alcohol should be added after the cooking step because alcohol has a low boiling point (173˚F). There are ways to add ridiculously large amounts of alcohol to ice cream, but it requires gelatin. To read more about ice cream making or see more ice cream pictures click here.

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2 ½ cups of whole milk
5 tbs of butter
2 tsp of vanilla
1/8 tsp of salt
¾ cup of sugar (divided into ½ cup and ¼ cup)
Zest of 4 lemons
Juice of 4 lemons
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
4 whole eggs
1/8 tsp of cream of tartar
1 cup of crushed Graham Crackers


  1. Bring milk, butter, lemon zest and salt just to simmer in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat.
  2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend.
  3. Temper the custard into egg mixture: While whisking, slowly pour milk mixture into egg mixture adding a little at a time until about one third of the cream is incorporated into the eggs. Then stir the egg mixture into the pot with the rest of the cream.
  4. While constantly stirring, bring the milk/egg mixture to about 170°F or until mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Remove immediately from stove and strain the mixture into a medium bowl. Then stir the vanilla and lemon juice into the custard base. Allow to sit at room temperature while you prepare the meringue.
  6. While the custard is cooling, whip the meringue. For the meringue, whip egg whites using stand or hand mixer at medium high speed until foam begins to form. After foam begins to form, add cream of tartar and turn mixer on high. As the foam gains in volume, begin adding remaining sugar in 1 tablespoon increments until the sugar is added. Stop mixing when the meringue forms soft peaks.
  7. Fold the meringue into the ice cream custard. Then refrigerate for 3-4 hours at least.
  8. Follow the directions on the ice cream freezer to form ice cream.
  9. Add Graham crackers after ice cream has churned. Then freeze for at least an hour.