Lemon Ice Cream with Blackberry Swirl

lemon ice cream with blackberry swirl

 This dessert – Lemon Ice Cream with a Blackberry Swirl – has a very particular inspiration. Last week, Brandon – my partner of ten years and the one person I’d very happily hang out with at any given moment – and I got married. It was a magical and joyful weekend, with our magnificent friends and family together in the dazzling Pacific Northwest (with weather that behaved like a champ), and featuring food and booze, s’mores and lawn games. I’ll spend the rest of my life in awe that I got to be with these generous people, in this place, for this very remarkable weekend.


Before I get into the inspiration for this flavor combo (because perhaps we’re just hear to talk about ice cream!), an important word about the treat itself: deliciously cold, it’s sweet and tangy and fruity and tart. It’s all the best of summertime, in a cup (also, it’s snap to make).




So why would this chocolate-lover make fruity ice cream?


As folks could probably guess, we (me) took cake tasting very seriously. Firstly, it was extraordinarily fun to flounce about town tasting cakes and comparing buttercreams. Once we settled on a bakery – the awesome Madison Park Bakery, with the nicest staff and our favorite buttercream – we then got to go back for two (two!) more tastings to choose the specific flavors.


The tiered cake is a brilliant thing – since Brandon leans toward fruit flavors, and me to not fruit flavors (we’ve discussed this multiple times), the tiers saved us from an all-out flavor battle. And so when Brandon chose the top tier to be lemon cake with a blackberry filling, I didn’t question why he’d chose the smallest cake to be his favorite flavors. I was just gleeful that the chocolate cake with the peanut butter buttercream filling was bottom, and therefore largest, tier (and for those who are curious: the middle tier was cream cake with mocha frosting – a nice compromise, wouldn’t you say?).


So, needless to say, the cake was delicious and gobbled (just inhaled) in no time. And repeatedly folks commented that they really loved the top layer (which I find shocking and I would probably judge them for it, but honestly I’m so filled with love and light these days, that I’m forgetting to be difficult). I think Brandon secretly wishes he’d gotten a bit more of that top layer. And so, in honor of my new husband, I decided to replicate the flavors in a summertime-friendly ice cream. Plus, with blackberry season is upon us, and this ice cream responds to our internal calling to use the amazing produce that’s around us.


This ice cream recipe is awesome because it comes together in a flash. It was all the more amazing because my sweet, thoughtful, and unbelievably generous Streusel gifted us with a Vitamix for our wedding. It whirred the heck out of the lemon zest and sugar, and pulverized the blackberry seeds in no time. So much fun! Though even without a high-powered blender, this comes together very quickly. I hope you enjoy!


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Lemon Ice Cream with Blackberry Swirl

  • Author: Lemon Ice Cream from David Lebovitz, Blackberry Swirl from Serious Eats - both with adaptations by Strudel


Ice Cream

  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 large lemons)
  • 2 cups half and half
  • Pinch of salt

Blackberry Swirl

  • 6 ounces blackberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Pinch salt






  1. Add the sugar and lemon zest in to the bowl of a food processor or blender, and blend until the zest is very fine. Add the lemon juice and blend again until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the salt, then pour in the half and half and blend until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Chill for 1 hour, then freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. In the meanwhile, make the blackberry swirl.
  3. Puree blackberries in a blender; if you’ve got a high-speed blender, mix until the seeds have broken up. If not, then strain the puree through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds.
  4. In a saucepan, bring the blackberry puree to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the puree has reduce by about half. Stir in sugar and the pinch of salt, mixing until they have dissolved. Transfer to a small container and chill in the refrigerator.
  5. Once the ice cream is churned, it’s ready for its add in. You’ll want to work quickly, as the ice cream is still soft. Transfer about ½ the ice cream to a loaf pan, then spread on as much blackberry puree as pleases you. Spread the rest of the ice cream on top, then give the entire container a quick swirl with a knife. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and freeze until firm.
  • Category: dessert
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