Five-Minute Sicilian Gelo di Limone

August 2, 2010

This is the easiest dessert you can imagine and so very Sicilian.  The first time I made the “jello,” I wolfed down the entire 6 servings before I’d even allowed it to cool. If you have a sweet tooth and like lemony things, this is for you.

1. Whisk together in a saucepan:

*2 cups water (or a bit more)

*1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar (I like it with the lesser amount, but Sicilians would put in the greater amount)

*1/4 cup cornstarch (or even a tad less)

*peel of one biggish lemon (cut off in as few pieces as possible and with as little white pith as possible)

*juice of the above lemon

Making Sicilian Gelo di Limone, copyright Jann Huizenga

2. Cook on a high flame, stirring constantly. When the pudding thickens and begins to bubble (this will take about 3 minutes or so), pull it off the fire and immediately remove the lemon peel (or it’ll become bitter). Pour into 6 little dessert dishes, cool briefly at room temp, then refrigerate for a few hours.

Sicilian Gelo di Limone, copyright Jann Huizenga

I learned how to make gelo from Giovanna Giglio, a cooking teacher here in Ragusa (pulling a lemon off her tree, below). If you’re interested in a cooking class with her, drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch with her. See also my previous post about Giovanna.

And for another take on gelo di limone, see this link.


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5 comments to Five-Minute Sicilian Gelo di Limone

  • I’m just getting my feet wet (or should I say whetting my palate) in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I usually don’t have time to test out recipes and my family is the guinea pigs. Honestly, my dad doesn’t complain, although it’s hard to keep up with the expectations of my Italian boyfriend. lol His mom’s cooking is pretty unbelievable!

    I will definitely have to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing it with us!


  • John Schinina

    Ciao Jann, You are wonderful, love these recipe’s
    on your web. Tried this one and loved it. My
    mother made a pudding similiar with milk rather
    then water and would use orange peel as a
    substitute too lemon for a change in taste.
    Thank you, Thank you, John

    • Jann

      John –thanks for your comment. Your mother’s recipe with orange sounds really interesting. I forgot to mention in the Gelo di Limone recipe that, according to Giovanna, you could substitute a cinnamon stick for the lemon (Gelo di Cannella), or even a cup of espresso if you want to make Gelo di Caffe. There’s a watermelon variety of gelo that I’d like to try and if it comes out, I’ll put the recipe on the blog.

  • catherine Billups

    I love this dessert which I had at Maria Fidone’s trattoria in Frigintini. One of my favorite places in Sicilia.
    Thanks for the recipe.

    • Jann

      Catherine–I had no idea there was an eatery of any sort in tiny Frigintini! Thanks so much for the tip.

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