Today on the blog we have a recipe for sweet corn ice cream that's been topped off with a delicious blueberry sauce...wait. Are you experiencing slight feelings of déjà vu? Does this sound a little familiar? Didn't I only just publish a recipe containing both blueberry and corn flavorings. If you read last week's post, you'll know that I was a sick soul with a need for the comfort that only homemade pancakes could provide, and that the pancakes that provided that much needed comfort came in the form of blueberry and cornmeal goodness. Just writing about those pancakes makes me crave them again, because they were really that good. It seems like I must have really liked that flavor combination because less than a week after those pancakes were made, I was back in the kitchen making something with the same flavor profile.
My pancakes from last weekend may have been the catalyst that drove me to make this ice cream, but this is one of those recipes that I've been meaning to make for a long time and just never got around to actually making. I first learned about sweet corn ice cream last summer and I thought it was such a brilliant idea. It seemed like the perfect ice cream for celebrating the best of summer, and I just had to make it...except that I never did. I really wanted to, but I would always somehow either forget to buy corn or some other recipe that I just had to make crossed my path. Before I knew it, summer was over and delicious sweet corn was nonexistent. I told myself last year that I could not let next summer pass by without churning up a batch of sweet corn ice cream, and here it is!
Sweet corn ice cream sounds a little unusual; it's definitely not an everyday kind of flavor that you can just find at the local ice cream shop (unfortunately). It's a little odd that it's such an uncommon flavor, because when sweet corn is at its peak during the summer, it can easily be just as sweet as any ripe summer fruit. Typically, corn is enjoyed in more savory applications; charred corn and Mexican-style elote are my personal favorites. In many other countries, however, sweet corn is actually used in desserts and sweet recipes. In Colombia, corn is used to make arepas de choclo, or sweet corn cakes, and my mom has been making envueltos, a traditional Colombian steamed-corn pudding (it sounds weird, but that's probably the best way to describe it- it's sweet and cheesy and so delicious) for so many years now, that using corn for sweet purposes is something I'm used to. I had never had sweet corn ice cream before this weekend though. For some reason, the notion of sweet corn ice cream wasn't an obvious one, but as soon as I read about it in the NY Times last summer, it made so much sense.
"DUH, sweet corn ice cream sounds AMAZING."
And it is amazing. So, so amazing.
The first spoonful I had of this sweet corn ice cream was a little weird, I'll admit. I wasn't quite sure about it, but I kept going back for "just one more spoonful." It tastes a little like creamed corn, but cold, which sounds odd, but in actuality, is quite delicious. At one point, I proclaimed to my sister that I had just made "envuelto ice cream;" she laughed at that, but then ended up agreeing with me after she had her first spoonful. I know I'm probably not doing a great job at selling this ice cream right about now, but I figure that I should document my experience as honestly as possible, right? In a nutshell- the ice cream was odd straight out of the machine, but still good, and I liked it. Once it was frozen and scooped into a bowl and topped with sweet blueberry sauce, oh boy was it good. The original recipe on the NY Times suggests making a sauce with blackberries and lemon verbena, but I love the combination of corn and blueberries, so the choice was obvious. I think this sweet corn ice cream would pair beautifully with a blackberry, or even a raspberry sauce, so feel free to make whatever sauce makes your taste-buds happy.
This ice cream comes together like almost any other ice cream. Cream, milk and sugar are heated together with fresh corn and are left to infuse together for an hour- this is when the cream has a chance to absorb all of that delicious sweet corn flavor. The kernels are left in the cream and then pureed, and after that, the mixture is heated once more and the egg yolks are added; at this point, it's like making any other ice cream. The custard is cooked and it thickens, and then the kernels are strained out. Sour cream is whisked in and the custard is chilled for several hours (overnight is best), and then frozen. All that waiting will be worth it though, because at the end, you'll have an ice cream that is both unusual and delicious. It's a refreshing change from more typical ice cream flavors, but you'll have to make this ice cream soon while sweet corn is still available and deliciously sweet. Give it a try, and enjoy!
Sweet Corn Ice Cream with Blueberry Sauce
recipe from The New York Times
4 ears fresh corn, husks and silks removed
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
225 grams sugar, divided
6 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime zest
6 ounces fresh blueberries
With a large knife, slice the kernels off the corn cobs and place in a large saucepan (use a bigger pot than you think you need) along with the milk, cream, and 110 grams of the sugar. Break the cobs in half and add them into the pot with the milk mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring every now and then, and remove from the heat. Cover the saucepan and let stand to infuse for one hour, after which you can discard the corn cobs.
With an immersion blender (or regular blender) puree the kernel-cream mixture. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, and then turn off the heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 55 grams of sugar, and a pinch of salt. Add 1 cup of the hot cream mixture to the egg yolks in a very slow stream, making sure to whisk constantly so that the yolks do not curdle. Add the yolk mixture back to the saucepan, and stir. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a rubber spatula, about ten minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on this and stir constantly.
Pass the thickened custard through a fine sieve, making sure to press down hard on the solids. Discard the solids, and whisk in the sour cream. Cool the custard in an ice bath until it reaches about room temperature, then cover the custard with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
In the meantime, make the blueberry sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining 60 grams of sugar, lime zest, and 1/4 cup water and bring to a simmer. Let the mixture cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted and the syrup begins to thicken slightly, about 7 minutes. Add the blueberries and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, just until the berries begin to soften but don't burst. Remove the sauce from the heat and allow to cool. Chill the sauce until ready to use.
Freeze the chilled corn custard according to your ice cream manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the soft ice cream to a freezer safe container and allow to harden in the freezer for several hours. Serve the ice cream with the blueberry sauce. Enjoy!
Makes 1 1/2 pints ice cream and about 1 cup blueberry sauce