Sorbetto di Limone Dressed Up in a Frozen Lemon Shell

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sorbetto di limone

Sorbetto di Limone, or lemon sorbet is one of the most refreshing desserts to serve on a hot summer day.

This version is so easy to prepare because no ice cream maker is required, just purchase a quality, store bought lemon sorbet and whirl it up in a food processor together with dreamy mascarpone cheese.

The mascarpone gives the sorbet a wonderful creamy texture that goes so well with the sweet and tart lemon flavor of the sorbet.

What makes this version a little extra special is that it’s presented and served in a frozen lemon shell, yes, it’s a little more prep but so worth it for it’s impressive presentation.

I’ve posted before about this lovely marriage of the lemon sorbetto and the mascarpone cheese before but it’s my first time presenting it in a frozen lemon shell.

lemon shells

Let me first say that all this prep, every step for this recipe can be done days ahead and I recommend you doing that. You’ll want to give yourself at least three days ahead of time, but with that being said it’s prepared and ready to go on the day you’ll be serving it, just grab it right out of the freezer.

To prep the lemon shell look for larger sized lemons, if they’re too small you’re not going to have enough room to stuff it and believe me you’ll want all that goodness inside.  Cut the tip off the top of the lemon where the point is and set that aside.

lemon shells

Make a tiny slice off the bottom of the lemon because you want them to sit flat, being careful not to cut the bottom completely off. Next take a small pairing knife and cut around the flesh and scoop it out as best you can with a spoon or a grapefruit spoon, ( you can strain the juice and pulp and save it for later use) then take a lemon reamer and ream it out so the insides are nice and smooth.

Now you want to freeze the lemon shells along with all the tops that you cut off. Place them into a container single layer, cover and freeze hard.


lemon sorbetto

Let the sorbet and the mascarpone sit out on the counter for a while before you start the blending together, then the mix will go into a food processor.

lemon sorbetto with mascarpone

After the mascarpone and the lemon sorbetto have been blended together nicely without any lumps, feel free to add some lemon zest for more flavor, the mixture will be on the melted side so it has to go back into the freezer to get nice and frozen again, at least overnight.

sorbetto di limone

An elegant dessert that’s simple, light and so refreshing!

sorbetto di limonesorbetto di limone

Present this either on individual pretty plates or fancy martini glasses for an extra “WOW” from your guests.

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Sorbetto di Limone Dressed Up in a Frozen Lemon Shell
Can be, and should be made days before serving it.
  • 1 pint lemon sorbetto/sorbet
  • 6oz. mascarpone cheese
  • lemon zest
  • large lemons, cleaned and scrubbed
  • mint leaves for garnish
  • NOTE;
  • This recipe can be doubled, tripled or what ever according to how many lemons you have and how deep your shells are. I always make extra because its nice to have it in the freezer.
  2. Cut a third off the top of each lemon where the point is, save the tops.
  3. Slice a shallow cut on the bottom so it can sit up straight and flat being careful not to cut through to the inside.
  4. Hollow out each lemon with a pairing knife then scoop out with a spoon then use a lemon reamer to smooth it out inside, reserve pulp and juice for something else.
  5. Put them single layer into an airtight container and into the freezer they go until nice and hard along with the tops. ( Remember, this can be done days ahead)
  7. Take your sorbet out of the freezer and set it on the counter so it can defrost and soften a little.
  8. The mascarpone can be close to room temp for easy no lump blending.
  9. In a food processor place the sorbet and the mascarpone, give it a whirl until it's nice and smooth.
  10. Place back into a container, add the zest and freeze it until hard again, overnight or longer is good.
  12. When both things are nice and frozen just fill the shells with the sorbet mix and place the tops back on, at this point you can put them back into the freezer in a covered container until ready to serve.
  13. Serve them on pretty individual plates or martini glasses, garnish with one mint leaf on top.


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  1. Claude Montambault says

    You have to try it … It may be your best ever dessert and you do not have to search for it in Sicily or Italy.
    The last I ate was in March 2023 in the heel of Italy in Torre Melissa at the Hotel Dolce Stella.. It was fabulous !!!

  2. When our daughter was a little girl we spent many summers in Calabria at the sea where we often had a frozen lemon filled with lemon granita. I absolutely love how you incorporated the mascarpone with the sorbetto – an easy, elegant and refreshing summer treat.

  3. My favorite red sauce Italian restaurant (one that’s been in the ‘hood for decades) always put their sorbet in lemon cups. I am transported there looking at this post. I like the addition of mascarpone. Sometimes lemon sorbet it just a bit too acidic and not rich enough for me.

  4. Your photos are so enticing Marie. These would be so welcome, especially on a hot summer day. I remember making something similar with oranges – decades ago, to serve after a Chinese meal. I need to revisit them in lemons next time.

  5. Hi Marie
    Would love to make this for a gathering, but sure would like some idea of quantity of lemons per pint of sorbet/marscapone so I can know how many servings to expect. Thanks

  6. I simply love the way you present it!! I’ve been wanting to make lemon sorbetto for a long time. Once we find our home and kitchen I’ll start getting out all the recipes on my bucket list!! Un abbraccio!

  7. Such a fun and pretty way to serve lemon sorbetto! Never tried it at home but it looks surprisingly easy.

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