A Sundae for Summer

arnold palmer sundae

This post was meant to go up earlier last week, but disaster struck – we had a freezer malfunction at home and the ice cream I made all melted! Fortunately we were able to salvage most things, but it delayed photo-taking for a couple days. Not that melty ice cream can’t be just as delicious, but ice cream soup was not the imagery I was going for.

This duo of ice creams was inspired by one of my favorite summertime drinks, the Arnold Palmer. It took me an embarrassingly long time to learn what this drink was, and that it was not, as I thought, an alcoholic drink. I think whenever I had iced tea, I almost always thought there were already lemons in there, so I never thought you might need or want to mix it with lemonade, but surprise – I liked it! I imagine it might be partly because I’m the person who dumps a bunch of sugar in her iced tea (and yes, I know what sweet tea is!) so the extra sugar in most lemonades is the draw for me.

milk tea ice cream

I started with a black tea-infused ice cream. I realized a little too late that I probably should have made a tea sorbet instead of a tea ice cream – since I was infusing tea into milk and cream, it’s really more of a milk tea ice cream base. But, if you’re a fan of Asian-style milk tea drinks, you’ll probably find this flavor right up your alley. You can steep the tea longer in the dairy for a stronger flavor, although since it’s black tea you want to avoid steeping too long and getting a bitter flavor. Also, I don’t like how quickly sorbets turn icy in my freezer if I don’t finish them quickly enough, so going with a dairy-based ice cream let me enjoy this longer. (Ironically, this didn’t help me at all when the freezer mishap meant melted ice cream!)

lemon sherbet ice cream

The other ice cream is my favorite recipe for lemon sherbet, just because it’s such a summer essential for me. I could pretty much eat this anytime, but it seems especially appropriate on a blazing hot August weekend when you just want to sit by the pool, or the lake, with a pleasantly thick book. There’s even no cooking involved, but the resulting sherbet is still wonderfully smooth and light, and not grainy at all.

So take the two ice creams and combine them just like iced tea and lemonade, and what do you have?

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just make one ice cream with both tea and lemon together. The thought did cross my mind: in fact, I might go back and put some lemon juice and lemon zest into the milk tea ice cream as further experimentation. However, my original intention was to make the two ice creams and then swirl them together, the way you’d actually make the drink version. In the end, I was afraid the swirl wouldn’t show up very well in photos (it was a rough few days photography-wise), so I’ve shown the two flavors separately and you can imagine them combining the two of them together with your spoon. They’re quite good individually, as well!

Arnold Palmer Ice Cream

makes 1 quart ice cream each

Milk Tea Ice Cream

  • 1 cup (230 g) whole milk
  • 3/4 cup (173 g) sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 black tea bags
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups (460 g) heavy cream

Lemon Sherbet

  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (230 g) whole milk
  • 1 cup (230 g) heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup (134 g) sugar

For the milk tea ice cream:

  • Combine milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium until sugar is dissolved and mixture is just about to boil.
  • Remove from heat and place in tea bags. Cover and let steep for about 30 minutes.
  • Remove tea bags and bring mixture back to a boil over medium heat on the stove. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks together in a medium bowl.
  • Pour hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs. Return mixture to saucepan and place back on stove.
  • Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon.
  • Place heavy cream in a large bowl. Pour hot milk mixture through a strainer into the bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and chill mixture until thoroughly cold. Freeze in ice cream maker per manufacturer's instructions.

For the lemon sherbet:

  • Combine lemon zest, lemon juice, milk and cream together in a large bowl and stir together to combine.
  • Add sugar and stir to combine. Add more sugar to taste if necessary.
  • Cover and chill mixture in refrigerator for about an hour. Freeze in ice cream maker per manufacturer's instructions.


  1. 1


    Nice! (not about the freezer malfunction, though) I just thought about trying a tea ice cream last week and then saw (and tried) an Earl Grey milkshake on a menu here locally in Raleigh (but wasn’t thrilled with it). Will have to print this out and give it a shot at home.

  2. 4


    Wow this looks delicious. I have loved lemon sherbet from a young age. In fact, I preferred it to ice cream. I haven’t had it in years but have been meaning to make my own. What a lovely idea to have it as part of a sundae – I haven’t had a sundae with sherbet before! :)

  3. 5


    I couldn’t get enough of milk ice tea and to see it in form of ice creams is definitely a revelation!
    Will be making this real soon :) thank you!

  4. 6


    I grew up on Asian milk tea and coffee drinks so your ice cream sounds divine. Just like the Arnold Palmer needs a few ice cubes – I see the lemon sorbet as sort of a nice icey addition. Time to get out my ice cream maker!

  5. 9


    Oh my, what a wonderful idea for ice cream! I just discovered what an Arnold Palmer was this spring. :) I agree, you can enjoy creamy iced desserts longer than syrup-based ones.


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