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Sweet Tea Ice Cream Recipe

Whether you are miles from home or looking for a new way to enjoy this cold brewed classic, this dessert recipe puts a frosty spin on sweet tea, while still delivering that same sweet taste of home.

If you were born, bred, or have lived in the South, then you are probably no stranger to this sweet brew that seems to invoke images of back porches and roadside stands with its refreshing citrus flavor.

This unique dessert is a surefire remedy for homesickness, and homemade candied lemon slices add an extra bit of sweet sunshine to this little scoop of home.


For Ice Cream:

8 black tea bags

4 egg yolks

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Zest of 3 lemons (less if you want a smoother ice cream)

2 cups heavy cream

1 1/3 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 cup whole milk

Pinch of salt

For Candied Lemons:

1 large lemon

1 cup sugar

4 cups water

Note: You'll need an ice cream maker for this dessert recipe!


For Ice Cream:

Combine lemon zest, juice and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Chill mixture in refrigerator for about 15 minutes. In the meantime heat 1 cup of water in a small saucepan, once water begins to boil remove pan from heat and steep teabags for 10 minutes.

Remove teabags and discard. Stir in 1 cup of sugar and return pot to heat. Allow tea to simmer until liquid is reduced to about half a cup., about 15 minutes. Let cool.

While the tea cools lightly beat egg yolks just until combined. Heat milk in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan until boiling. Temper the egg yolks by stirring in ¼ cup hot milk into the eggs, whisking quickly and steadily until the two are well combined. Add egg-milk mixture to saucepan with remaining milk and heat until it is thick and resembles custard. 

Next, prepare an ice bath.  Remove lemon mixture from fridge and combine with heavy cream, custard, and tea in a stainless steel bowl. Place bowl into ice bath, stirring frequently until mixture has cooled.

Follow your machine’s manufacturer’s instructions for the next few steps. Garnish with candied lemon slices (recipe to follow).

For Candied Lemon:

Prepare an ice bath. Carefully cut lemon, peel and all, into 10 to 12 thin slices, discarding fruit ends.

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a rolling boil. Remove pan from heat and add lemons, allowing them to soak for a few minutes. Using a pair of tongs, plunge slices into prepared ice bath.

Drain lemons, and in a medium skillet bring 1 cup of water to a boil over medium heat. Pour in sugar, stirring constantly until dissolved, about 3 minutes. When mixture begins bubbling reduce heat to low and add lemon slices in an even layer. Allow the slices to simmer for about an hour or until translucent.

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove slices from skillet and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let the slices dry before serving, about 15 minutes.

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