Notes: This sherbet comes from Linda Wisner of Portland. It has a wonderful floral quality if made with lemon verbena and Meyer lemons (available in some farmers' markets), but it's also very good made with lemon grass and regular lemons. Up to an hour before serving, scoop sherbet, set scoops in a single layer in a cold metal pan, and freeze.
2 1/2 ounces fresh lemon grass (about 2 stalks) or 2/3 cup lightly packed lemon verbena leaves, rinsed (see notes)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon peel (see notes)
1/3 cup lemon juice (see notes)
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
2/3 cup half-and-half (light cream)
How to Make It
Trim and discard root ends and tough tops from lemon grass; remove and discard tough outer layers. Coarsely chop tender inner stalks.
In a 2- to 3-quart pan over high heat, bring 2/3 cup water to a boil. Stir in lemon grass, remove from heat, and let stand for 15 minutes. Press through a fine strainer set over a bowl, then return liquid to pan; discard lemon grass.
Add sugar to lemon grass water and stir often over high heat just until dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon peel and juice. Nest pan in a bowl of ice water and stir often until mixture is cold, about 10 minutes. Stir in buttermilk and half-and-half.
Pour mixture into an ice cream maker (1-qt. or larger capacity) and freeze according to manufacturer's directions until dasher is hard to turn or machine stops. Package airtight and freeze until firm enough to scoop, at least 2 hours or up to 2 weeks.