Lemon Sauce for Fruit

Lemon Sauce for FruitI have been going through a serious lemon phase lately. When I think of food, all I can think of is “gimme some lemon, baby”. Don’t you just love food phases? I went through a dried bean phase when my kids were younger. They are still in psychiatric counseling over that one.

I’ve been trying to figure out what is up with this lemon thing and I think that it began with the last yogurt I ate, which was lemon flavored. Lemon yogurt isn’t necessarily my favorite, but the only other yogurt left in the fridge was a strawberry yogurt and I patently will not eat it because it has carmine in it, but that is a subject for another post. Stay tuned.

Although I haven’t been actively pursuing searches on all things lemon, I keep running into recipes in which lemon is an important ingredient. Then again, when you add lemon to anything, it takes a prominent role. Lemon isn’t background noise in a recipe, like for instance, onion. Onion is just there, hanging out, doing its aromatic thing. Lemon, on the other hand, runs around in your mouth like a kid with ADHD yelling, “Za-Zing! I’m here!”. I like lemon.

Long story short…I’ve decided to do some recipe posts with lemon as the star.

As with all good recipes, this one is a combination born of reading several recipes, picking out the parts which I found most appealing, and adding a few of my own ideas. This lemon sauce for fruit was a great hit at my family’s Fourth of July get-together. Use it as a fruit salad dressing, a dipping sauce, or if you prefer, right off the spoon. I have added this to my list of “Things Worth Eating with a Spoon”.

Lemon Sauce for Fruit

  • Servings: 20
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup whipping cream or half and half
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Prepare an ice bath by putting ice cubes and a small amount of water in a large bowl or other deep container which can accommodate the pot in which the sauce will be made. Set aside.
  2. Combine whipping cream (or half and half) and 1/3 cup sugar in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, but do not boil. Stir frequently to prevent scorching.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the other 1/3 cup sugar. Add the lemon juice, grated lemon peel, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk thoroughly. Continue to whisk, adding the cornstarch a little at a time to prevent it from forming clumps.
  4. Temper the egg yolk mixture by slowly pouring a cupful of the whipping cream/sugar mixture into the egg yolk mixture while whisking briskly. Pour the tempered mixture into the pot with the whipping cream/sugar mixture while whisking continuously. (Whatever you do, DON’T put down that whisk!).
  5. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently until thickened. Cool the sauce quickly by placing the pot into the ice bath. Stir to cool the sauce.
  6. Pour sauce into a jar or bowl, cover and put in refrigerator to finish cooling. Serve over a fresh fruit salad or as a dipping sauce for fruit.

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