Salted Lemon Buttermilk Givré

Givré, French for "frozen," is also the name given to the dessert of sorbet or sherbet in a frozen fruit shell. This statement educes the question of the difference between sorbet and sherbet. Sorbet is a frozen dessert made of sweetened fruit juice, while sherbet is made with fruit syrup and milk (or other dairy product) which is whisked until smooth and opaque and frozen.

Sounds easy, right? Yes. It really is about the simplest dessert you’ll ever make. The hardest thing you have to do is grate some lemon zest and juice a few lemons to make this light, refreshing treat. The best part for me was that I did not have to make another trip to the grocery store since we had buttermilk leftover from making pancakes.

Although its name implies that it is high in fat, buttermilk contains no butter and is traditionally low in fat. According to the California Milk Advisory Board, the name "buttermilk" stems from the original method of making buttermilk: buttermilk was the milk left over after churning butter. Light, refreshing and low in fat: awesome!

Lemon Buttermilk Sherbet
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of one lemon, preferably unsprayed
  • 3 cups buttermilk (lowfat or regular)
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • Large-Grain Salt (like Red Alaea or Hiwa Kai) for serving

In a medium saucepan, combine the water and the sugar. Grate the lemon zest into the pan. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let it come to room temperature, then place the syrup into the fridge until thoroughly chilled.

Cut the lemons in half and juice, reserving the outer peel to use as the serving bowls. Put the lemon juice in the refrigerator to chill along with the simple syrup. Using a spoon remove any excess pulp and membranes. Cut the tops/bottoms just slightly so that the lemon “cups” sit flat. Dip the rims of the lemon cups in sugar and immediately place in the freezer.

Once the simple syrup is thoroughly chilled, whisk the buttermilk into the syrup. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, freeze the buttermilk mixture in an ice cream maker. Once frozen, remove the sherbet from the machine to a container and cover tightly with plastic wrap and then place in the freezer to firm up before serving.

To serve, remove the lemon cups from the freezer and scoop the sherbet into them. Sprinkle the top with good, large-crystal salt and serve immediately. Be prepared for everyone to want second (or even third) helpings!