My earliest memories of Italian Ice was as a child growing up in Chicago.
My family lived in the Taylor Street neighborhood around our Lady of Pompeii School. My father would take us to this place which had Lemon "Italian Ice" he would order all of us a big refreshing scoop.
The sweet refreshing "Italian Lemonade' with chunks of lemon rind served in a Dixie cone cup. I can hear the scraping of the ice which makes a hollow sound as is is scooped into the cone.
This is the perfect treat after having shared a slice of Sicilian Pan Pizza or an Italian Beef or Sausage Sandwich.
We also made this at home, especially on hot days. We all took turns...
hand cranking the freezer until it was done, the lid came off and everyone enjoyed the refreshing Italian Ice.
At the time I only remember Lemon as the only flavor but now you can get all kinds of fruit ices, even ones that are infused with herbs or spices, Lemon Basil, Strawberry and Pepper, and Watermelon.
For this recipe I chose the classic Lemon. Make this part of you Summer ritual, have fun and enjoy delicious Italian Ice!
Italian Ice Recipe print version
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1 cup fresh Lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated Lemon, the rind of 1 medium Lemon cut into small strips
Create a simple syrup by mixing 2 cups of water and sugar and bring to a boil in a stainless saucepan. Be sure to stir once and a while and scrape the edges. Once the syrup comes to a boil and is clear whisk in the salt, turn off the burner and let the syrup cool and refrigerate. You may make simple syrup ahead of time and place it in the refrigerator until you are ready as well for future recipes. Notice that the ratio is 2 pts water to 1 part sugar
Creating the mix to freeze
To the cooled simple syrup add 1 cup water
Add the fresh squeezed Lemon juice and Lemon peel to the chilled simple syrup mixture and stir.
You may place the mixture into the freezer onto a pre-chilled metal pan which you have placed there a head of time. Wait till you see ice crystals and stir the mix, revisit the pan in the freezer every 30 min or so and repeat the process until you have a slushy, Italian Ice.
You may also use the hand crank or motorized ice cream freezer where the stainless chamber is jacketed with ice and rock salt. The container is fitted with a lid and a crank is placed on top, you then crank by hand agitating the mix on the inside with the paddle that stirs and scrapes the sides.
I was fortunate to have a counter top gelato machine. The ice cream freezers that you buy will also include recipes as well which is a plus!
If you need to make and freeze it ahead be sure to place it into a clean plastic container with a tight fitting lid. You may need to temper it a bit before dishing. Try serving it to the adults with a drizzle of Limoncello on top.
You may also cut a Lemon in half, core out the center and freeze the shell and use that as a serving dish. These may be filled ahead of time and wrapped as well. Here is and example from a company called Bindi which has a wonderful selection.